Category Archives: Florida

The Case of Daniel Baker: Online Speech and Community Defense

The Case of Daniel Baker: Online Speech and Community Defense

Painting of Daniel Baker with a scarf
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On January 15th, 2021, two men received a knock on the door of their Tallahassee apartment from someone claiming to be delivering a Postmate parcel. The two hadn’t ordered anything and raised suspicion that someone was trying to break in and rob their home so they said they didn’t order anything and refused to open the door. Moments later, their door crashed open and a percussive grenade ignited as FBI swarmed in with guns drawn, yelling.

This was the arrest of US military veteran, YPG volunteer medic and instructor of yoga and jujitsu Daniel Baker on charges of inciting violence at Florida’s state capital. This may sound like a familiar story of government arrests across the country since the January 6th far right riot to stop the counting of votes that Trump supporters and avowed white nationalists engaged. The difference lies in the fact that Dan Baker wasn’t calling for the storming of anything. The FBI alleges that he made posts online calling for people to resist an attempted coup that elements of the far right had been promoting since the failed acts of January 6th in DC, where armed putschists would take State capitals and public officials hostage. So, why did the FBI targetting Mr Baker? Why has he not been allowed private meetings with a lawyer since his detention? Why was he kept in solitary since his pre-trial time at the Federal Correction Institution at Tallahassee begun?

On October 12th, 2021, Dan Baker was sentenced to 44 months in Federal Prison for “interstate communication of threats” for his facebook posts and his militant anti-fascism, including his time fighting Daesh or ISIS in Rojava. His defense is appealing the ruling, otherwise he’s expected to be released at the soonest in March of 2024.

For the hour, we’re sharing our March 7th, 2021 conversation with Jack and Eric. Both are anti-racist activists, students of Daniel’s yoga and jujitsu instruction and Eric was the roommate that was present at the time of the home invasion by the FBI. You can find links to articles about the case in the show notes at our website and in this podcast and more information on Daniel’s case is at the instagram account, @FreeDanBaker, you can contact support at DanBakerDonations@gmail.com, donate to his support on paypal with that email and find his amazon wishlist on the instagram.

You can write to Dan Baker at:
Daniel Alan Baker #25765-509
FCI Memphis
FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION
P.O, BOX 34550
MEMPHIS, TN 38184

Some media coverage of Dan’s case:

Other related reading:

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Transcription

TFSR: Would you all please introduce yourselves with whatever names pronouns or affiliations that make sense for this chat?

Eric: My name is Eric, he/him. I’m a visual artist, and I was Dan’s roommate at the time of his arrest. We had traveled together for a while.

Jack: My name is Jack, I use they/them pronouns. I am studying biomathematics and computational science, and I’m an activist and organizer in the Tallahassee Community.

TFSR: And are y’all on the support crew for Daniel?

Jack: I’d say we’re probably the two main folks on the support group. We were all training jujitsu together at the time of Dan’s arrest, jujitsu and yoga.

Eric: Yeah, we just started a workout group thing that they’re trying to criminalize him for. They came after a yoga teacher.

TFSR: Would you all give listeners a thumbnail sketch of who Daniel is, and your relationships or how him?

Eric: We crossed paths a few times over the years. I think the first time we actually met was around 2013, we had crossed paths in the Krishna Temple in Chicago while I was traveling around, he had just come from a Rainbow Gathering. And he was traveling, visiting some different temples on the way back to the East Coast. We only met for a couple of days. And then we had reconnected on Facebook years later, after he had returned from Syria. I didn’t even recognize him at first. But I reached out to him because I wanted to learn more about his experience, I had already been studying some related Political Science type stuff and I wanted to try to get more insight into what his experience was like. He had also had some training that would be very valuable for all the different protests that were going on. So every once in a while, I’d kick down and send a donation here and there when I could to keep him going. And then eventually, we just decided to take a road trip.

I guess we connected online, maybe a couple of years ago, late 2018, early 2019. We had known each other for about a year just online, we traveled together. He had just been in Tallahassee for maybe five or six months when he was arrested. He had some roots in the community here. We were trying to make friends and network with local activist circles, and participate in the best way we could. Dan had gone through the Combat Lifesaver training with the army and had applied it during his time in Syria, so he was very valuable as a street medic. I’d just been traveling around painting on and off full-time for years, so we both would just fly signs sometimes and do a pop-up exhibition. I would live paint, we saved up to get a room. We were camping for a while. We got off the street and got a small apartment. We’re able to save up and put him through a BMR course. He knew all the material pretty much but he just needed the certification to be able to work in that field. So we were on the way to getting him reestablished here and then dudes kicked our door…

Jack: First they said they were the Postmates Delivery Service. The FBI knocked on the door and then said, “Postmates Delivery”. And then Dan was “We didn’t order Postmates” and shut the door. They kicked down the door, threw in a flashbang, and then said, “FBI”. Obviously, you have Dan and Eric sharing it separately, Dan had a very difficult time being able to communicate with anyone. But I think that the FBI wasn’t expecting the blind landlady who’s 80 years old and was in the room next door to corroborate the story. And so once that came out, she was in the room next door and heard them announce themselves as the Postmates delivery, and was able to independently verify that this happened. And they haven’t responded to that. They didn’t even deny it when it came up in the public hearing. The FBI agent went first and then said, “We announced ourselves and they resisted arrest”. And then Eric was up and he was “They didn’t announce themselves. They said they were the Postmates delivery service”. If you get a knock on the door, and it’s a delivery and you know you didn’t order something I don’t think anybody wants to answer that door. And I think everybody thinks they might think that they might be getting robbed.

Eric: As I said, we were trying to start a workout group, we had been traveling and I was trying to pick up some first aid stuff from him. He had also done some training in jujitsu, he had competed a decent amount, he had some gold medals, I think he’s about purple-belt level, he was upper-intermediate. And he was just helping me pick up some of the basics. We’re going to the Ashtanga Yoga primary series for the yoga teacher training. He had the first certification in that. He was working on building up his second certification. And I was going through getting my first. So we started inviting some other people out, and getting some more folks involved, because I would never be able to afford to learn all that stuff without somebody who’s giving that access. So I just really wanted to help him make that available to the community here. Jack was one of the first people who was coming regularly to the groups we were doing and I guess it was helping them move past some recent difficulties.

Jack: When I started training jujitsu and yoga, I have just gotten out of an abusive relationship. Training with Dan and Eric was actually a really healing practice for me. Dan and Eric created a safe space, which sometimes, as a non-binary person, can be really difficult, especially with cisgender white males, but they were both really, really, really compassionate and understanding. Dan and Eric are both really strong feminists. And I just really appreciated how comfortable they made me and how supportive they were while I was going through this process. So that was just really fundamental for me to move past this relationship and the pain that I had gone through. I feel like I owe Dan so much because he was just somebody who is very understanding,

TFSR: There are a few things that I’m noting, in addition to the descriptions of you both talking about how Dan’s been someone who works to create space, who works to build skills in order to share them, those sound like some pretty fundamental parts of who he is, as a person. People would join the military for a lot of different reasons, in part, maybe because they want to further a career, get out of a bad situation, maybe some more nefarious perspectives that people can have sometimes joined the military, but to train up to be effectively a combat medic, or a medic in what could be deadly situations, is a great skill set, and then going on to continue to apply that by volunteering, to participate in the struggle against ISIS is another show that someone is applying this life-saving tool. And the fact that Dan was bringing it back and bringing it into these dangerous protest situations that the far-right and the police create more and more so as time goes on in the US, seems to say a lot about Dan’s character.

Eric: Yeah, at least from what I understand, whenever people come back from Rojava, often they’re briefed at the airport. And a lot of times, they’re just discouraged from getting involved in politics or activism or anything like that. But Dan was very committed to his beliefs and to social justice. And he is one of those rare individuals who are willing to go to prison or put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of protecting others. And I think that’s a fundamental part of his character.

TFSR: And so you all were finding some stability at the time when this raid happened. I mean, being housing unstable is not, sadly, a unique situation these days, but especially during the pandemic is a very difficult time, that must have been very emotionally, impactful, and frightening to have somebody bust through the door and throw a flashbang and suddenly hear FBI with guns drawn out of nowhere. That’s a traumatic experience.

Eric: Yeah, it’s was the last way I was expecting this trip to turn out, although we had a feeling something like this could happen because we had also been previously stuffed by the FBI in Seattle during the time we were there. They had just rolled up to us in a parking lot after this one shooting had happened to question us about things that they had seen online. He just told them that he had already made his public commentary on Twitter. And that was basically all he had to say about it. So they let us continue on. As far as I know, they’ve been observing him for as long as I can remember, I think he got back in like 2018. He said they’ve been pretty much observing him and I’ve seen him post about being stopped a few times already. So it seems like he’s been under regular surveillance for a long time.

TFSR: And y’all were up in Seattle, where he was doing medic work around the autonomous zone period, right? There were a few shootings I know of that it seems to make sense that he would be around when there’s some violence showing up, running towards the trouble in order to mitigate the harm that’s been caused, to help save lives.

Eric: Yeah, I had been stranded out of state when COVID happened and quarantine started, I was homeless at the time, I was staying in a shelter, and I just ended up getting some seasonal work, and then got the stimulus. I sold some paintings also. I was able to get this car. And we had both been following the Unicorn Riot and talking about how we wish we could be there and support. And once we got the ability to do so it made sense to just take a trip.

TFSR: What were the reasons that the FBI immediately gave for the arrest, if they gave any? What has the federal prosecution sent to the US attorney or whoever it is that’s conducting prosecution? What arguments are they giving as to why they thought it was necessary to bust into the apartment and arrest him?

Eric: I’m not even really sure about the justification for breaking in. The justification they’re using for the entire case is just them seeing some Facebook posts and some flyer going around. Apparently, he was indicted on two separate charges. But his public defender is saying that they generally only rule as one charge, if even that, so hopefully, it won’t be as bad as a maximum sentence.

TFSR: So the posts that appear to be the main source of the FBI’s argument were related to after January 6, after the right-wing riot that occurred at the National Capitol in DC. The far-right was claiming that it was calling for people to have similar actions taking over space, damaging property, threatening people at state capitols around the country. Is it correct to say that the posts that you’re talking about are one saying “We as community members need to show up and resist the violence of the far-right and what violence they might bring into our communities while they’re doing that”? Was that the nature of the posts on social media?

Eric: Yeah, allegedly it was a reaction to the situation. It’s not like he was taking some initiative to instigate or harass anybody or anything, it was due to these pressing events and these threads coming up, which a lot of us had been expecting for a long time, at least on some level. We were anticipating that we might not see a very peaceful transition of power. And especially after what we had seen in DC, it was reasonable to assume that something similar could happen at the state capitol as well, especially that the FBI themselves were circulating warnings about what could happen.

TFSR: I think there’s a fundamental difference between somebody going to another place, going to DC, for instance, to protest or to counter-protest, as opposed to saying, “Hey, there’s a very strong danger that militia or some other group or proud boys or whatever are going to be coming to our hometown and bringing some of the same violence that you’re seeing in this other place”. Just to go back, if Daniel is the person who will run towards danger, because he has built the skills and because he’s courageous enough to put himself on the line in order to act as a line of defense as well as to help people who are in harm’s way, it seems a little illogical that the FBI is making a point of attempting to prosecute this individual who was trying to mitigate harm.

Eric: The instinct is you want to give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe it is just a mistake or something. But I guess by now, there are so many of these cases.

Jack: I don’t necessarily hold the FBI in the highest faith. But then even just the whole thing where they pretended they were the Postmates delivery. What is the rationale for that, what did they gain by pretending they were the Postmates delivery service? One of the criminal complaints against Dan was that he said he was getting funded by George Soros. That he had an Antifa card from George Soros. Then they use that to try to prove that he’s this international “terrorist”. During the public hearing, the public defender asked the FBI agent, “Do you know who George Soros is”? And the FBI agent said, “No”. I laughed really hard, because what the fuck? I was even told to not laugh. And then the public defender said, “Do you really think Dan was getting funded by George Soros”? And then the FBI agent said, “Well, since I don’t know who that is, I’m not sure”. Either he’s really stupid and doesn’t know who George Soros is, or he is really bad at his job and doesn’t know who George Soros is and isn’t aware of the QAnon conspiracy that right-wing extremists ascribe to, or he was lying and playing dumb. Either of these options is not good, for why he doesn’t know who George Soros is. It’s like saying I don’t know who Bill Gates is.

TFSR: Yeah, it’s been coming out more and more, especially in the last few years, but this year, in particular, with BlueLeaks, the amount of information that’s being pumped into the intelligence infrastructure of the US from these fusion centers, that pulls in a lot of conspiracy theories, whether it be about Antifa lighting fires in the Pacific Northwest, or just similar things to that, that the FBI agents didn’t even necessarily need to know who George Soros is, although it does say a lot about their disconnection from popular culture and conspiracy theories. But it’s not surprising if there was pumping in of far-right conspiracy thinking and disinformation to the local FBI chapter. And then they decided to act out of that.

As you say, there’s a history of the FBI attacking anti-racist movements, particularly focusing on Black and brown activists, but also disrupting and incarcerating tons of activists who act in solidarity against white supremacy and against anti-Blackness. This administration has made a point of – as I said, it was during the last administration anyway – but they had the whole statement about the events in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017. I think that, especially after they had conducted extrajudicial killings of anti-fascist activists, if they were going to be going after and arresting people on the far-right who had participated in January 6, they probably had to pick up some people who would have been “opposition” to show that they’re not some deep-state, leftist Campbell Soup, whatever conspiracy group.

Jack: Yeah, DemocracyNow! had a really good interview with Benjamin Crump. And then they were talking about the new information that’s come up with Malcolm X, and he was saying that they’re now calling Black Lives Matter protesters “Black Identity Extremists”. Have you heard about that new terminology that’s being thrown around for arresting Black Lives Matter protesters?

TFSR: Yeah, they’ve been introducing that more and more since the Ferguson uprising. It makes sense for this not to come up in that conversation that Benjamin Crump was engaging, but they’ve also been using the term “anti-government extremists” to be able to lump in anarchist, anti-fascists & Black Liberation activists alongside white nationalists and Nazis. As opposed to focusing on white supremacists, they say, “Oh, well, the problem is not about the specific ideology. It’s about extremism, that’s extra-parliamentary where they’re going to go and do actions in the streets or attack people or whatever. We’re in a ‘post-racial society’. So we can say that, well, these people are extremists about whiteness. And these people are extremists about Blackness” as opposed to the centrist ideology that the US government is supposed to uphold. So yeah, Black identity extremists are being put on members of the Huey P. Newton Gun Club or the Not Fucking Around Crew or the Black Women’s Defense League as armed groups for Black liberation. I disagree with the politics at least one of them does, but they have some sketchy views in terms of antisemitism, but this flattening of any opposition as being a threat to the Democrat and Republican parties basically. Sorry, that was ranty. I didn’t mean.

Jack: No, no, no.

Eric: If they can just pile up a whole bunch of Facebook posts and make the case out of that, that’s bad news for everybody.

TFSR: Yeah, absolutely.

Jack: Some of the things in the FBI complaint literally made no sense. In the criminal complaint, they had that Dan had posted YouTube videos showing basic first aid. And we were just “Why is this in the criminal complaint?”. This is not illegal, this is not harmful. This is literally Dan trying to educate people on how to help each other, how to literally heal each other. That was bizarre. There were other things too, in the public hearing, they were trying to “prove” that Dan was a flight risk. And they pulled up Eric’s Facebook and found a status where he said, “Things aren’t looking great in the country, really want to get the fuck out”. And that was back in August. And then they were “They have plans”. And then our public defender was like “When Reagan was president, I said I wanted to get out of this country”. To pull up a post from four months ago, and then have somebody that says, “I want to GTFO [get the fuck out] from this country” and then say, “That’s proof of plans of a flight risk” is just… The number of people who said they wanted to go to Canada, now they’re all flight risks. It’s really grasping at straws at that point.

TFSR: I was gonna try to make some joke about how far of a stretch that was in yoga, but I couldn’t.

Jack: It was so appreciated either way. There’s so much about it. We’re aware that Dan is a white male. So he is somebody who wants to defend Black lives. And he essentially wants to use his privilege to defend Black lives. He’s the type of person to run towards the sound of gunshots, he is the type of person who wants to use his white privilege to protect Black and brown lives from white supremacists. I want to say that just because we’ve been drawing a lot of parallels between the Black Panther movement, Huey P. Newton and a lot of the examples that we’ve been giving describe the FBI involvement has been with Black leaders, Black civil rights leaders. Obviously, Dan is not Black, and it’s still very nuanced and different. But I think that the criminalization of leftist ideology, in general, is still a common thread for all of these movements.

Eric: One of the things that terrify them the most is these types of Rainbow-Coalition- style initiatives that grasp the attention of people from a vast spectrum of backgrounds.

TFSR: Currently, Dan Baker is sitting in a federal prison in Tallahassee. Have you been in contact with him? How are his conditions? How are his spirits?

Eric: I got a couple of phone calls. I got a call the last couple of weeks. And then maybe two-three days ago, I just got another whole bunch of letters that I think had been delayed in transit. It was probably over a dozen letters, some of them are things that he wanted to share about his condition in there and the way he’s holding up.

Jack: Actually, I stepped out to check the mail really fast while you guys were talking, but I realized that I had bought Dan a bunch of greeting cards to give him some color in his cell. And then I see that effective August 15, all incoming general correspondence envelopes, including greeting cards must be white in color only. So now I’m realizing that none of my letters have actually gotten to him. It’s been very difficult to actually communicate with him. He wasn’t able to make a phone call for weeks. And when his lawyers asked the warden about it, the warden said, “Talk to the prosecution”. When they talk to the prosecutors about it, they’re “You got to talk to the warden”. So they were giving the public defenders the runaround. We didn’t hear from Dan for several weeks, it was very stressful. And then the color of the envelope… They scan all of the letters in the first place and then send them copies of scanned letters. So I have no idea why the envelope would matter at all. Because they don’t even send them the envelope in the first place.

Eric: There are a couple of complaints that he sends. They’re inmate requests to staff, he’s just trying to get access to his funds and being able to communicate with everybody. Basically, he’s just trying to request information on how we can access those things and it took him a long time, maybe another few days at least, before he even figured out how to be able to access the funds that he had available. He was trying to get phone calls, he couldn’t even really get phone calls with his lawyers. A lot of times, they had him on a three-man hold. I think it’s the FDOE regulation. They’ll have three people hold them on a chain with a lieutenant there. Every time he has a phone call, or every time he meets with his attorneys…

Jack: He hasn’t been able to have a private conversation with his attorneys. He’s been in the detention center for a month and a half. And he hasn’t had been able to have one private conversation.

TFSR: Because there’s always simultaneously these other prisoners that are being…

Jack: There are these three armed guards with him at all times. And they’re trying to present him as if he’s this evil criminal.

Eric: “Antifa super-soldier”.

Jack: Yeah, antifa super-soldier, evil criminal mastermind. As Eric said, he’s won six gold medals. But that’s training within his level and his division, he’s a purple belt training against other purple belts in his weight class, not somebody who’s a Black belt training against all these other Black belts. He is very skilled, don’t get me wrong, but he’s not a ninja.

TFSR: Are they afraid he’s gonna attack his lawyer? They put him into a room with his lawyer, what’s the possible danger except for extracting him from the room afterwards?

And a quick content warning, the next section has a reference to sexual assault. So if you’re concerned, I would skip ahead about two minutes.

Jack: I think they just really don’t want him to be able to have a private conversation with his lawyer. There have been so many sketchy things about this whole thing. The fact that he wasn’t able to make a phone call mysteriously.

Eric: Yeah, we had been trying to make phone calls for two weeks or so before anyone was able to get through and even got in contact with his counselor. And he just hung up on us, we had to pay subscriptions even just to register a phone number in the system. Even then, I think they initially put him in solitary. They were saying it was for a quarantine measure, 14 days of solitary confinement. But then others were saying it was because they thought he was gonna start an uprising or something. Also, I think after he had spent some time in there, he was saying it would be preferable to go out into the general population because he was just a concern for his own safety.

Jack: One of the things that he wrote in his letter is that somebody was raped with a broomstick handle. When you think about the conditions of jail/prison or anything, it’s a place that breeds hostility environment, and the guards encourage it. That was in one of his recent letters is there is a person who is struggling with some mental issue, and the guards are saying that he’s faking it and encouraging the other prisoners to bully him and antagonize him and hurt him. Dan is not sure what to make of it, except that he realizes that somebody is being bullied and intimidated and harassed. And the guards are encouraging this behavior amongst the inmates.

Eric: I just got a couple of these letters from him over the last couple of days, the most recent ones were marked “urgent”, he was concerned because he was rotating his cell. And apparently, when he got into the new cell, it was covered in feces, and there’s blood in the sink and someone used the toothbrush in there or something. He wasn’t sure if somebody was going after him or trying to intimidate him, or what the situation was, but it was extremely unsanitary. He’s not given access to even antibacterial soap or anything like that. Apparently, it was another inmate who is suffering from some mental illness and he’s done this also in other cells. So it doesn’t seem like anyone is targeting him specifically. I think he has gotten threats from other people that he’s mentioned, but I was just discussing this with his attorney the other day, and some of these things are probably pretty common in a lot of these institutions. It’s hard to even tell exactly what action to take short of abolishing them.

TFSR: Can you tell me about the support crew a little bit like how you mentioned like you two are some of the most active people in it? What infrastructure have you been building or how’s it been trying to talk about the case? There’s been a few pretty good articles that I’ve seen online and Jack, you mentioned writing a bunch of op-eds. How’s that work going?

Jack: I think the way that it started is some of our Black community activists, Black leaders, actually reached out to us about trying to support Dan. And they recognized what Dan was trying to do and appreciated that he was trying to fight against white supremacy. Then we grew it to include some more of the different prison solidarity groups across the state, across the nation, actually. We have some people from Philadelphia, New York, Indiana, and then we also have people who are with the Rojava Solidarity Network, they just all reached out. And we were really grateful to have this solidarity. We just talk about different news articles that come out. I appreciate everyone’s perspective, like I said, it’s been really helpful to have Black activists give feedback because this is something we want to be very mindful of.

Eric: So it’s been important, this whole trip to defer to Black leadership.

Jack: Yeah, Black leadership and local leadership, especially since we’re talking about protecting Black and brown lives, we wanted the perspective of Black and brown leaders in the community.

TFSR: I know that during a past interview with Coffee with Comrades, Eric, you talked about using your existing artwork as a platform to talk about Daniel’s case. Is that still ongoing?

Eric: Yeah. Basically, Dan and I had started that project. We would live paint in public spaces. We started a page called the Guerilla Gallery. It’s a common thing that a lot of artists do, a pop-up exhibition. I revived that page because I hadn’t really had it running before. So I decided to dedicate it as an info hub for his case and to use it for future prison solidarity projects. Anyone is welcome to check that out if you want to keep up with it. It’s on Instagram, Guerilla Gallery TLH, it is in Tallahassee. So I’ve been tried to post the relevant addresses mailing addresses, and some of the guidelines for sending mail, any relevant articles, I’ll probably post this article. And then once it comes up, and it’s just like a place where I can, at least until we get a website going, we’ve just been using that. We do have a website in the works. But we got shut down by GoFundMe pretty early on. So we’ve been working with some other groups set up like an independent fundraiser. So hopefully that’ll be online shortly at that one hearing scheduled for I think it was last Monday, it was supposed to be a state case, a hearing for an arraignment for whether he gets to keep his firearms. But instead, they took him before a grand jury and tried him with I think it was just the prosecutor there. And so they ended up getting him with two charges, instead of just the original one, even though the public defender doesn’t think it’ll stick, but his state case is still coming up as to whether he gets to keep his firearms. So I was just able to hire a lawyer just the other day to assist with that case and represent him because I feel like that’s important if they’re also trying to take firearms away from people that they’re harassing in this way.

TFSR: Yeah, particularly people that haven’t been convicted of a crime. One thing about Florida is that Florida is the cousin to the rest of the US South where they give you guns or shove them into your hand when you’re an infant. That’s not fair and not true. But it’s just difficult to consider the idea that the state of Florida is looking to deny someone the right to bear arms when they have “served the country”, and also when they haven’t been charged with actually conducting any violent criminal act, let alone when conducting of criminal acts in which a gun is a part of that.

Jack: The whole thing is bizarre. Exactly like what you’re saying that he hasn’t actually been convicted of anything and they’re already trying to make this decision.

Eric: If we can do some art exhibition pretty soon to draw attention to this, it’ll also show up some of the systemic issues of how these types of laws can be used to take away people’s voting rights, their ability to protect themselves. And there’s just like so much wrapped up in it.

Jack: Also the absurdity of having social media posts be criminalized that were obviously jokes. Another one of the things of the criminal complaint was that Dan had pictures or posts about eating the rich, and these are fucking memes, this is absurd that they’re including “eat the rich” memes as part of a case against him to say that he’s a threat to society.

TFSR: I’m just looking at the statement, the press release from the Northern District of Florida US Attorney’s office right now. It is saying two counts of transmitting a communication in interstate commerce containing a threat to kidnap or injure. So this is one of those instances again, also not only is that, but they’re out of context social media posts, that it’s not even actionable if it doesn’t post some recipe about how to prepare the rich for consumption. But they tack on the interstate commerce because it’s being done over the internet, even though this is about stopping a far-right incursion or attempt to putsch against the government in the town that you live in. The fact that there are communications about how we need to resist violent actors coming in and causing violence upon ourselves and further reducing whatever “democratic government” there is in the world. They’re saying that it’s now a federal charge because it’s over the internet. It’s so ridiculous. Some pretty decent coverage, there was an article on Jacobin that came out in January…

Jack: I think the Jacobin article by Branko Marcetic is probably my favorite of the articles that have come out so far. I encourage everyone who’s listening to read that one specifically. Because I feel like that really captures the absurdity of the case.

TFSR: And I was surprised too, there’s also a pretty decent article “Coming from Prison”, which is a libertarian…

Eric: Yeah, I saw that too. I was about to post that one up the other day.

Jack: Okay, I actually haven’t seen that one yet.

Eric: I was surprised about that, too, to be honest.

TFSR: It’s making some pretty cogent arguments in a legalistic framework of the government attempting to suppress the right to bear arms based on the political speech of an individual. And it probably doesn’t hurt that again, he’s a white dude.

Jack: I’ll definitely have to read on that one.

Eric: It’s easier for the prosecution to go after Dan Baker than it is for them to prosecute Donald Trump.

TFSR: So another coverage’s come up and hopefully there’ll be more, but this situation reminds me of the case of Loren Reed, he’s Diné man in Arizona facing 10 years in federal prison for joking comments in a private Facebook chat during the uprising. Does there seem to be a trend in this application of speech on social media platforms like Facebook being taken out of context and used to criminalize people on the left? I don’t know if any other cases remind you of this thing or if you have other thoughts on that?

Jack: I mean, I would say, absolutely, there is this pattern of taking jokes, taking private messages, I think in the case of Lauren Reed, they’re really trying to slam this arson charge, which, for what I remember reading in the Al Jazeera article about it, it was born out of the Civil Rights Movement as a way of penalizing civil rights activists and these federal charges are almost exclusively used to punish civil rights activists, but I definitely see that there is this pattern. I can’t think of any other cases right now.

Eric: They have these laws ready await, they will pass them under the pretense of preparing to protect against right-wing violence. And then once the public focus dwindles, they’ll use it against leftists as soon as they get an opportunity. There were some other examples listed in that Al Jazeera article, there was Evan Ellis. I think he was a BLM organizer in Evansville, who got a two years probation and psychiatric evaluation and got three counts of felony intimidation for posting a little clip on Facebook of him making a gun gesture.

Jack: Oh, wow.

Eric: He was talking about allegedly some officials or something like that, I don’t know, some policies that he didn’t like. There was a Samuel Amara also. He was charged allegedly for threatening a racist counter-protester. He could get up to five years. Those are felony arson laws that were invoked against Standing Rock protesters that Jack was referring to. There’s also a recent case here in Tallahassee, do where Baker County is? I think it’s somewhat close by to Tallahassee, but there’s another local activist named Kevin Connor, who was arrested recently. They’re trying to present it as if he was acting inappropriately with minors or something like that. He was just an organizer who was helping students, he was invited to speak to them about how they could organize in their schools and their campuses.

Jack: Even just as far as a local example is in Tallahassee, 19 people were arrested for protesting on the sidewalk. And they tried to slam some of them with felony charges. One still has felony charges, which haven’t been dropped. In Tallahassee, we had a man driving a truck through the crowd, no charges were pressed against him because he said he feared for his life. And we had a guy who actually pulled out a gun and pointed it at protesters. And he also had no charges because he said he feared for his life. So this is a counter-protester, just some white dude. But you just have a rainbow coalition of Black and brown and white activists fighting for Black Lives Matter protesting on a sidewalk and a 19-year old get arrested.

It’s just the laws are not equally distributed at all. In Florida, there’s this anti-protest bill. And they’re saying that it’s going to be DeSantis, the governor introduced it during the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, it got a lot of backlash. And then he reintroduced it after the events that unfolded at the Capitol on January 6. And he’s saying that as to fight extremism. But the way that some of the speakers at the most recent protests explained it is there are already laws against rioting, there’s already laws against looting. And what these anti-protest laws, these felony charges do is make it more expensive, and keep making the sentences longer for anybody who breaks those laws. And then they are unequally distributed and used primarily against left-wing activists, but most recently, they’re coming out of this idea that it’s to stop right-wing extremists.

Eric: Recently, some courts have ruled that portions of the Federal Riot Act are unconstitutional. So even people who encourage or promote riots are legally free speech currently.

TFSR: I didn’t know about that. I’m looking forward to reading up on that after this. These are really good examples that you’re bringing up that I don’t know about. So I’m gonna do a little research and link some articles.

Jack: It’s also called the Anti-Protest Bill, if you look up Florida anti-protest bill, but the thing is 26 states have introduced bills like this since what happened on January 6, and what’s being introduced in Florida isn’t even the worst one, there are some that are actually trying to make it so that it is a 30-year prison time felony charge for organizing a protest. And then the way that DeSantis bill is defining a protest is a group of nine or more people blocking traffic at an intersection, which would include every demonstration that the Black Lives Matter protest had. And it also tries to make it so that there is no option for bail for people who are arrested for these protests, charges that try to make them felonies, which, in addition to stripping people of the right to vote, also makes that they can’t work state or federal jobs. The way that felony charges are used against people in Florida is just really disastrous. Many bills like this have sprung up in over half the country as a result of what happened on January 6, but they’re going to be disproportionately used against leftist activists versus the right-wing extremists that they’re claimed to have started from. Oh, actually, Eric just pulled up a good infographic.

Eric: Also the bill protects anyone who does bodily harm to protesters. So they’re already willing to make allowances to protect property. But if anyone tries to protect another person, that’s terrorism. Really, what he was doing is counter-terrorism. But If they admit that, then they’ll have to admit that Trump is a terrorist. And he appointed that. But also damaging a statue can be punishable for up to 15 years. And it also allows the state to override any municipality that wants to decrease police budgets.

Jack: Yeah. So the way that they have it is if a municipality votes to decrease their own police budget, it has to be approved by DeSantis, in order to defund the police, which when you think about it, there’s this whole argument about states rights and civil rights and local rights, and then suddenly, no, just kidding, we have a dictatorship where we have one person that gets to decide this decision for everybody. If there is a protest, and if damage happens, the state of Florida can sue the municipality for not adequately supplying their police officers. So if anything is damaged, they can say that the city needs to increase its police force. It’s a very problematic bill. And it’s not even the worst one that’s out there.

TFSR: If January 20 popped off the way that it was threatened to, for instance, and if this had passed, then police standing by and letting right-wingers go and do whatever they were going to do could be a reason for the police to just get more funding.

Eric: And in a sense, the real coup is just them seizing control of or trying to ram through all this anti-protest legislation. And ramping up all these surveillance programs.

TFSR: It’s not really a coup if they’re already in control, though, right?

Eric: Yeah.

Jack: Yeah. I wish I could find more specific info about that last bit that I was saying, I’ll have to look it up later.

Eric: Well, there’s also the federal level measures that are also being passed by Biden and Pelosi, as far as I know.

Jack: Patriot Act Two.

TFSR: Yeah. Aren’t we on number three by now? Yeah, definitely. All the security state discussion is in discourses, at least a lot of people are recognizing it for what it is that it’s just using whatever political capital they were able to… I’m sure that some individuals and employees were quite frightened on the 6th when the windows were getting smashed and people were coming in and fighting the cops and everything. And that sucks for cleaners or employees or whoever was working up there. But the fact that January 6 has been framed as another September 11. It is just so ridiculous, par for the course.

Eric: It doesn’t address the fact that the only reason they’re able to get in there is because all the cops and military were complicit and politicians.

TFSR: As far as supporting Daniel, how can people find out more about the case? How can they support the work that the crew is doing? How can they support him personally?

Eric: So far, it seems like his attorneys are doing a good job, they’re really well-known here in the community. I think they’ve also worked with other activists, so we lucked out in that regard. We’re focusing right now on letter-writing as much as possible. All of his information is on the @GuerillaGalleryTLH Instagram.

Jack: I also want to emphasize, as far as letter-writing is that the paper must be white in color, envelopes must be white in color. And they can only use blue or Black ink, it makes no sense because like I said, they scan the letters anyway.

Eric: There are screenshots of the guidelines and on there as well. And some links to the website with more information.

TFSR: Well, Eric and Jack, thank you so much for this conversation. Get at me with some of those links and I’ll definitely include them in the show notes about related cases. That’s a lot to think about and I really appreciate the research that y’all are doing. And the support work that you’re doing for Daniel, it’s super important even beyond him as your friend, as you said, these tools that are being turned on him are ones that are often turned on other people and are in danger of being used against all of us.

Eric: He’s so upset about his situation right now. He said he’s about to start a vow of silence, except for his allies. So I still have to find out if he’s following through with that, but it’s really crucial that he gets letters and that he just feels supported and that people are following his case and watching his case so at least that he’ll be less likely to suffer some abuse or something while he’s in there, at least they can be held to account for already what he’s been experiencing in there.

TFSR: To reiterate, as has been said, a lot of times on this show and in other discussions around supporting prisoners, sending letters to a prisoner is not just a kind act or a way of making a friend, but it literally is a measure in prisons of how much support or how many people are paying attention on the outside. And it literally means that not only Daniel, but the people that are around Daniel, for guards or administration to fuck with them, they have to know at that point, that all these people are, who are on the outside are going to have concerned about this, is it worth me messing with this guy, or the people around him if these many people are going to make a ruckus on the outside?

Eric: That’s what I’m really trying to focus on right now is creating some situation for him to be able to reenter, potentially even maybe in a better situation than he started. And just now that people have a better idea of who he is and what he stands for I hope that more people in the community will come together. And I’m trying to get him set up maybe with some platform to continue his yoga and jujitsu training and groups, and I’m hoping, you can hit the ground running when he gets out. And we can hopefully leverage this network to create some opportunities for him as well.

TFSR: Is there anything that I didn’t ask about that you want to mention?

Eric: Coming to that place is serious, it’s a class war against all of us, we’re all potentially at risk here. So, I feel like everyone needs to show solidarity in their different communities to connect where they can and then to unify whatever groups are able to get together because that’s the only way that anyone will be able to protect themselves or each other.

Digital Security / Tenant Organizing / #MeToo and Updates from Hong Kong

Digital Security / Tenant Organizing / #MeToo Hong Kong

This week, we feature three portions.

Lauren Regan of CLDC

art by Ar To
poster by Ar To
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First up, we share a chat with Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defense Center, or CLDC, to chat about safer practices around technology for activists, as well as the “reverse search” warrant used by the NYPD with Google to capture info on antifascists and the Proud Boy attackers last year. More at https://cldc.org. An article about tech security and phones that Bursts references is called “Never Turn Off The Phone” [starts 10m 08s]

Palm Beach Tenants Union

Following this, Withers (a new collective member at The Final Straw) shares a chat with Adam and Amy, two organizers with the Palm Beach Tenants Union out of Florida about their work and the sorts of mutual aid disaster work they’ve done with Hurricane Irma and advocating for and organizing with renters in their communities for dignity in housing. More on the Union at https://pbctu.org and more on how you can get involved in mutual aid up at https://mutualaiddisasterrelief.org. There are a number of donation sites around the region to prepare for this Hurricane season, as well as distribute support to Bahamas that you can find by searching social media for DRASL (Dorian Response Autonomous Supply Line), as mentioned on itsgoingdown.org. [starts at 54m 06s]

#MeToo and Updates from Hong Kong

Finally, you’ll hear a conversation with Enid and Rebecca, who feminist activists in Hong Kong about the current state of protests there. Content warning, that segment deals in part with organizing around sexualized assault by police and by protestors. To hear our prior interview with Ahkok on protests in HK, check our website and see the great articles up at crimethinc. Also, the guests talk about the term 自由閪, or “Freedom Cunt” as a re-appropriation of a misogynist insult by police from the protests. [starts at 1hr 15m 51s]

*Correction to the HK conversation: The full name of the IPCC mentioned in regards to the establishment of an independent police inquiry is called the Independent Police Complaints Council. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam appointed two new committee members to the already existing committee, not independent investigators. However, the IPCC has hired five foreign investigators to participate in examinations, though it must be clarified that the role of the IPCC is observational rather than investigative. The IPCC has no jurisdiction to either call witness nor collect evidence for the independent inquiry called for by citizens.

If you’re listening to the radio version, as usual, we suggest that you check out the podcast version for longer versions of all three chats in this episode as well as Sean Swain’s audio this week. You can hear that at thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org or via various streaming platforms we publish to, such as youtube, soundcloud, stitcher, pandora and so-on.

. … . ..

playlist ending

Operation PUSH: Strikes in FL Prisons

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This week, Disembodied Voice spoke with Karen, a member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee in Gainesville, Florida.  People imprisoned across the state of Florida are gearing up for a work strike and boycott of prison profit centers such as commissary beginning on January 15, and the Gainesville IWOC chapter has been a crucial node of support on the outside.

DV spoke with Karen to get the scoop on what to expect from the upcoming strike, the demands of folks who are participating, the broader context of the movement to end prison slavery, and how folks inside and outside are organizing to counter brutal conditions in Florida prisons and beyond.

Links:

YouCaring Donations to send 1000+ zines publicizing the strike into prisons statewide

Gainesville IWOC fedbook

Fight Toxic Prisons website & fedbook

SPARC Network fedbook

Announcements

#AVLJ20: Build and Fight 2018

But first, here is an announcement regarding the very first anniversary of January 20th, 2017, upon which day over 200 people were kettled an arrested on L and 12th streets by DC police for allegedly protesting the inauguration of Donald Trump. This case has become a rallying example of the United State’s eagerness to punish even a glimmer of dissent against the established regime. The first 6 of the initial defendants have just been acquitted of all charges, charges which would have amounted to many decades behind bars had they gone through, but there are still over 180 defendants awaiting trial, and there is a long road ahead in terms of support and resistance.

From crimethinc.com:

“We propose to use the week of J20 2018 to reconnect with our networks, revitalize our spaces, organize new projects, hold special events, and bring people together to build our movements.

Autonomous spaces include infoshops, community centers, and bookstores. But an autonomous space can also be a public place you make a habit of gathering in or a territory you share and defend. Open spaces offer a way for people who are freshly curious about our movements to plug in, pick up literature, and begin fostering relationships.

Towards this end, we are encouraging people to organize on the week of J20:

Community events involving putting in work at autonomous spaces. This could mean fixing the bathroom or repainting the walls, or it could mean soliciting people to bring supplies, books, and other materials to add to the space. Let this be an opportunity for the community surrounding the space to strengthen and expand the physical infrastructure.

Block parties and celebrations around the space, reconnecting the wider community that uses and interacts with it and bringing in new people.

Fundraising events to support the space—this could include speaking events, film showings, and more.”

To that end, right here in Asheville, we’re kicking off a week of rebellious activities with a Haywood Road block party to share food, fun, and knowledge. This is a free event open to everyone so bring your friends and let’s talk about where we want to go from here!

Schedule Local of Events

Saturday, January 20th, 2017 (fedbook listing)

  • 3pm-6pm (@ Firestorm)
    Workshops, including “Uprooting White Supremacy in Appalachia,” an interactive presentation by Holler Network
  • 6pm-7pm (@ Firestorm)
    Community vegetarian potluck
  • 7pm-9pm (@ Firestorm)
    Workshops, including a presentation by The Callisto Collective
  • 9pm-Late (@ Local 604 Bottle Shop)
    DJ dance party

Throughout the Week:

Sunday, J21
Documentary Film Night (@ Static Age-Records [fedbook])

Tuesday, J23
Karaoke Fundraiser (@ The Lazy Diamond [fedbook])

Friday, J26
Trouble” Screening (@ Firestorm)

A list of local participating groups is as follows:
Asheville Industrial Worders of the World (fedbook)
Asheville Prison Books (fedbook)
Blue Ridge Anarchist Black Cross (website or fedbook)
Callisto Collective
Firestorm Books and Coffee
Holler Network (fedbook)
J20 Defendants (DefendJ20Resistance)

Coalition for Immokalee Workers on #IrmaRelief and Jalil Muntaqim (p2)

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Airs on WSFM-LP 103.3 in Asheville / streaming at AshevilleFM from 3am EST on September 25th through October 1st and podcasting on libsyn.com.

For a 59 minute long, radio clean version for syndication purposes, please visit the archive.org collection.

Coalition for Immokalee Workers

Today we are airing an interview conducted with Lupe Gonzalo of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in Immokalee, Florida. This is  is a worker-based human rights organization which seeks to promote awareness of social responsibility, human trafficking, and gender-based violence at work and in corporations, seeking to boost the voices of some of the more marginalized workers in the US. We talk about the ciw, how it got started, and about hurricane relief after Hurricane Irma. We also touch on some political differences and points of unity with anarchism. This interview was conducted in translation from Spanish into English, with Patricia of the Alliance for Fair Food doing translation. If anyone would like the full interview just in Spanish, please write to us and we will provide that audio!

If you would like to learn more about the Coalition of Imokalee Workers, and to donate to hurricane relief efforts, you can visit their online fundraising page

For more on this group, including how to get onto their email list, information on their radio station Radio Conciencia or La Tuya, and their upcoming visit to UNC Chapel Hill, you can visit ciw-online.org If you would like to see just one of the many accounts of anarchist accompliship and solidarity with the CIW you can go to It’s Going Down and search “Autonomy in Tampa, Solidarity in Immokalee: Love Letter to the Future

Further links for reading and solidarity:

Blog Concerning Hurricane Irma relief
Alliance for Fair Food’s report on the state of the town of Immokalee
CIW Blog post about Hurricane Irma relief in Labelle, FL

CKUT’s Prison Radio with Jalil Muntaquim

Then comes part two of Prison Radio’s interview with Jalil Muntaquim, who is former member of the Black Panther party and the Black Liberation Army and is one of the longest held political prisoners in the world. While incarcerated, Jalil has become a father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Jalil graduated with a BS in Psychology and a BA in Sociology in 1994. He has written several books, arguably most notable being We Are Our Own Liberators, his most recent being a book of poems entitled Exiting the Prism.

More from CKUT out of Montreal can be found here!

Announcements

Duke Energy Protest & NCUC Public Comment Period

In Asheville on Wednesday, there’ll be a protest against Duke Energy, which proposed to the NC Utilities Commission to raise electricity rates 15%, raising $200 million a year to pay for the cleanup costs of their coal ash dumps and build new infrastructure to keep us dependent on ecocidal fossil fuels. NCUC is holding a public hearing from 7-10pm at the downtown courthouse in Asheville, with a rally starting at 5pm and marching towards the courthouse. You can find a fedbook event for a training to help you get more comfortable with presenting during public comment period.

“Eyewitness to Charlottesville” at UNCA

Also in Asheville this Wednesday, Sept 28th at UNCA here in Asheville, there’ll be a presentation from 6-8pm. Location to be determined, but you can find more at fedbook by searching for “Eyewitness to Charlottesville.” The presenters are from the (shudder) International Socialist Organization (ISO) from Raleigh, a UNCA student and member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), and members of the Carolina Mountain John Brown Gun Club, formerly Redneck Revolt.

Trouble #6 at Firestorm

BRABC will be airing Trouble #6 on Friday the 29th at 7:30pm.  This episode of the short-documentary series from sub.Media is focusing on Counter-Insurgency.  The showing is free and will be followed by a discussion with questions crafted by sub.Media on the topic.  The flyer for the event can be found here.

FBI visits more activists in WNC

From BRABC:

On September 8, 2017, an FBI agent attempted to visit a comrade in western North Carolina. They visited a house, and the person there stepped outside to talk to the agent, who repeatedly asked if the comrade in question lived there. The person at the house did not engage with those questions, and instead insisted on a card from the agent that a lawyer could call later. The agent said it was regarding a case being handled by another office.

This comes at a time when Anarchists have been standing up to a grand jury and other FBI harassment across the state of North Carolina. The person who the FBI agent was seeking secured legal representation. On September 13, 2017, their lawyer called a number the agent wrote down, and the FBI specified that they were actually looking to speak with the person’s child, a minor. The FBI said that they were seeking the original person because a legal guardian had to be present for the agent to talk to the minor. During that call the agent stated she wanted to ask about graffiti on a car related to a case being investigated by the FBI Field Office in Raleigh, NC. The minor in question has now secured legal representation. Nobody above is speaking to the FBI.

We cannot just hope that harassment like this stops. Get educated on how to protect yourself if the FBI shows up. If you are approached by the FBI, refuse to answer their questions. Know your rights! Please read If An Agent Knocks for more information. We cannot let them intimidate us and raise fear and distrust.

If An Agent Knocks: https://ccrjustice.org/if-agent-knocks-booklet

Sabal Trail Pipeline Resistance in Florida and Antipolitika newspaper in ex-Yugoslavia

Sabal Trail + Antipolitika

Sabal Trail Resistance

https://sabaltrailresistance.wordpress.com
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This week we’re sharing a conversation we had with Karrie and Niko, two folks involved in the initiative called Sabal Trail Resistance. The immediate goal of Sabal Trail Resistance is to block the Sabal Trail Pipeline, actually a series of 3 pipelines meant to run through Georgia, Alabama and Florida, carrying pressurized natural gas. We spend about a half an hour of this episode chatting about the route, who’ll be effected, the companies behind the pipeline, environmental racism, decolonization and other related topics.

Coming up, they plan a weekend of action February 23-27, including an action against prisons and in solidarity with longterm Indigenous political prisoner, Leonard Peltier.

More on their project can be found at https://sabaltrailresistance.wordpress.com and http://stopsabaltrail.com

antipolitika

After that, we’re spreading a 10 minute interview between comrades at FrequenzA out of Hamburg, Germany, published in English at the end of January. From https://frequenza.noblogs.org:
“The interview is about the first issue of ‘antipolitika’, released in summer 2016 with the topic antimilitarism. The anarchist newspaper consists of statements and articles from ex-yugoslavia and greece and is dedicated towards a broader public.”

Announcements

Updates on Sean Swain

Before these words from anarchist prisoner Sean Swain, we have a quick update on his dietary situation. We’ve just gotten word that Sean resumed eating on his 50th day of hunger strike. He is still not being given a halal diet in line with his practice of Islam, and neither are other Muslim prisoners in Ohio, but he’s said that the administration is considering the move. He’s achieved the other demands that he was hunger-striking for. If you’d like to see Sean and other adherents to Islam in Ohio prisons during this age of increasing Islamophobia be able to at least eat according to their faith’s dietary practices, give a call to Ohio Governor, John “JWow” Kasich. You can call JWow at 614 466 3555, that’s The Honorable Governor of Ohio, John Kasich at 614 466 3555. You can also write to him via
Governor Kasich
77 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43215-6117
And request that Sean Swain, prisoner #243-205 who’s being held at Warren Correctional, be allowed to eat according to his faith.

Reporting ICE Raids on Social Media

As many of yall are aware, there has been a lot of concern and fear regarding Immigration and Customs Enforcement (or ICE) checkpoints recently. Given the rising tide of overt xenophobia and racism in this country, these concerns are valid, and there has been a lot in the way of confirmed raids and detentions by ICE. However, the use of social media in these situations is something that can both help and hurt the situation, both being an effective way to broadly communicate an issue and a platform for a whole lot of unsubstantiated claims and rumors.

In an effort to battle this aspect of social media use, I’d like to plug a resource that DRUM put out some time ago. DRUM stands for Desis Rising Up and Moving, and they are a NYC based group which “is a multigenerational, membership led organization of low-wage South Asian immigrant workers and youth in New York City.

Founded in 2000, DRUM has mobilized and built the leadership of thousands of low-income, South Asian immigrants to lead social and policy change that impacts their own lives- from immigrant rights to education reform, civil rights, and worker’s justice. Our membership of over 2,400 adults, youth, and families is multigenerational and represents the diaspora of the South Asian community – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Guyana, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Trinidad.”

They have put out a very useful resource entitiled “A Brief Guide for Reporting Raids on Social Media”, which we will link to directly in our blog. Basically it cautions against the spreading of unsubstantiated information and provides a step by step guide for what to do if you witness something:

http://www.drumnyc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/ABriefGuideforReportingRaidsonSocialMedia.docx.pdf

To see more about DRUM you can visit http://www.drumnyc.org/

Support Krow

From our comrades at supportkrow.org:

On February 4, while supporting the No DAPL struggle, Krow (Katie Kloth) was assaulted and arrested by a Bureau of Indian Affairs officer (there is video of the incident below). She was walking on a public road, away from the Sacred Stone camp, when she was chased down by the officer. It is believed that she was specifically targeted because of her ongoing involvement and visibility within the No DAPL resistance, which had resulted in two arrests on misdemeanor charges previous to this incident. Krow was also known at Standing Rock for being an advocate for creating a unified front in fighting the pipeline.

Krow has been charged with violation of felony probation and is being held at Morton County Correctional Center. The probation is from previous charges in Wisconsin stemming from an environmental protest against mining in the Penokee Hills in 2013, for which she served nine months in jail. After a recent bail reduction hearing, Krow was assigned a cash-only bail of $100,000. The stipulations of the judge require that the bail be paid in full. Even if the full bail is paid, it is likely that Morton County would refuse to release Krow. We are currently working with lawyers and legal teams in North Dakota and Wisconsin to figure this out. Donations to support Krow will go towards paying lawyers, commissary, postage, travel for supporters visiting Krow, and/or bail. Krow has stated that she wants the bail paid.

We fear for Krow’s safety and well-being, especially in light of her assault and the severe mistreatment other water protectors have received in this particular facility.

Krow is an activist, artist, forager, sustainable farmer, biologist, and amazing person loved by many within the environmental movement. We need to show her as much solidarity and support as we can at this vital time. In Krow’s own words, “We must negate state repression by protecting ourselves and land-bases therein; we must not give our people up, and recognize that to be in solidarity with one another is more akin to the idea of ‘harmony’ than ‘unity.’ Harmony implies that we can all do different things within the same song, and still find conclusion together.”

Whether you are a direct action environmental activist or simply support the No DAPL struggle and protection of the land and all of its people, join us in supporting Krow, in solidarity with all things wild and free.

Contact Krow’s support team at supportkrow[at] riseup.net
You can also donate to Krow’s legal fund at http://supportkrow.org/

Resisting Snitching in Berkeley

From the Anti Repression Committee in Oakland:

ARC is aware that UC Berkeley PD is circulating images of individuals who they claim are associated with the Berkeley anti-Milo protest on February 1. They are actively seeking information about these individuals, and are asking anyone with information to contact them.

We want to remind everyone NOT to assist UC Berkeley PD in their investigation, EVEN IF it seems like the information you give is harmless. Remember that even minor information, like identifying a “witness,” can be used to increase surveillance of activist communities. Police use this kind of information to map activist networks and harass them. In the current political climate, the state is looking for ways to clamp down on dissent and resistance. Let’s not help them do that.

Remember that you have NO LEGAL OBLIGATION to talk to police or FBI if contacted about the protest. They may try to make you feel intimidated, but you ALWAYS have the right to remain silent. If you are contacted by phone, email, letter, or in person, either ignore the correspondence, or tell the officer that you decline to speak with them.

If you are contacted, immediately call the National Lawyers Guild at 415-285-1041 so that they can give you legal advice, and also so that they can be aware of police/FBI activities.

Finally: DO NOT post or circulate the UC Berkeley PD webpage with pictures of individuals. We do not want to signal boost anything that will increase surveillance and targeting of our communities.

NC J20 Defense

As always, you can help support our comrades who got kettled in DC by donating to http://ncj20defense.com/

Playlist

Greta on Refugee Crisis in Europe + announcements/updates

Greta on Crisis for Refugees in EU

https://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/
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This week, instead of priorly mentioned interview with organizers of No New Animal Lab and supporters of Jessica Burlew, Bursts spoke with Greta.

Greta is an anti-border activist who works in the U.K. & Calais, France, shares about her recent visit to Calais and what she’s learned about the recent influxes of refugees coming from North Africa and West Asia. Greta talks a bit about where and why the immigrants are coming, where they’re headed and why, how governments and populations have been dealing with the immigrants and the stability of the European Union as a structure.

Hopefully we’ll be hearing from No New Animal Labs folks in the near future. More on that project can be found at http://nonewanimallab.com

More on the case of Jessica Burlew can be found at http://freejessieb.org/

But first in some recent news:

Sean Swain

Here is an update on Sean Swain’s situation, pulled right from his support page at http://seanswain.org/:

We’re not sure what’s going on, but Sean Swain has been blocked from receiving (and presumably sending) JPay emails. He also has not called his primary supporters, or us at The Final Straw for a new radio segment. We’ll probably hear from him via snail mail sooner or later, but until then, we’ve got to assume he’s cut off.

When we called the prison, they told us he was not in the hole, and did not have any restrictions on his communication. We suspect they may have transferred him back to a 3B spot, undoing the success of our recent call-in effort. They refused to tell us what security level the block he is held in is on and they got surly and authoritarian when we asked. It seems that the officers at Sean’s newest prison, Warren CI need to learn that their jobs are a whole lot easier when they don’t provoke anarchists from across the country to call and check in on the welfare of our friend who they hold captive.

WARREN CI: 513-932-3388

You can call Warren CI and ask the same questions we asked- why does Sean not have access to communication, what security level is he currently housed in, and does the JPay kiosk in his (or any Warren Unit) actually work right now? You can also leave Sean’s Case Manager a voicemail by punching extension 2281, or try and talk to deputy warden Robert Welch, who maybe got Sean moved from 3B to 3A a few weeks ago, he’s at ext 2005. Whatever lucky anarchist happens to be on the call when one of these officers breaks and spills the beans, please drop a line to AnarchistSwain@gmail.com.

Sean doesn’t like when they fuck with his communication access. Being a writer, getting his voice out is one of the things that help Sean feel connected to the outside world. So he’s probably feeling alone and frustrated. Also, his birthday was Sept 12th, so if you haven’t written for a while, or missed sending him birthday wishes, please consider dropping a line and letting him (and the mailroom monkeys who have to read all his incoming communication) know that he is loved and missed.

Please take a moment to drop a line on Sean to let him know that you’re thinking about him.

Sean Swain
243-205
Warren CI
P.O. Box 120
5787 State Route 63
Lebanon, Ohio 45036

Eric King

From the excellent anarchist news website http://itsgoingdown.org and from Eric King’s support website:

“On September 16, 2014, Eric G. King, was arrested and charged with an attempted firebombing of a government official’s office in Kansas City, MO. Eric allegedly threw a hammer through a window of the building and then two lit bottles, though both failed to ignite. Eric faces a federal life sentence if found guilty at his trial on October 28 2015.
On the eve of Eric’s first year in pre-trial state captivity, his support group got word about the prison censoring and rejecting his mail.

To mark the year since Eric was stolen by the state, the Kansas City, MO Anarchist Black Cross and the Omaha, NE Anarchist Black Cross dropped banners in solidarity.
The EK Defense Committee writes, “Recently, a book about the Black Panthers was rejected because the prison evidently considers them a “hate group.” Around that same time, right­-wing Christian literature with homophobic rhetoric made it through to another prisoner. Eric is clearly being targeted for his political beliefs and interests.
If you have been writing to Eric and have not heard back from him, it is very possible that he has not received your letters or you have not received his. The prison (and the state apparatus of which it is a part) is trying to isolate Eric from his supporters. We can’t let them do this.

Please help by:
Firstly, writing Eric letters! Please flood the prison with as much mail as you can. This can serve the dual purpose of overwhelming the prison mailroom and helping Eric remember that he has solidarity. Keep track of what you sent to Eric and when you sent it so you can check with him later or call the prison to inquire about why your mail was blocked.
You can write to him at:

Eric King
27090045
CCA Leavenworth
100 Highway Terrace
Leavenworth, KS 66048

Second, by checking the support site often. If this harassment continues, we will be taking other measures to ensure this censorship stops immediately. CCA has been sued in the past for censoring mail and violating prisoners’ constitutional rights, so they know as well as we do that what they’re doing is wrong.

Please spread the word and help put the spotlight on CCA’s draconian mail room practices. Prisons greatly prefer to function outside the public eye where they can torture, abuse, neglect and isolate prisoners without consequences. Don’t let them get away with that this time. Send Eric a letter or card today. Eric King’s support site is https://supportericking.wordpress.com/

For our recent interview on the case of Eric King, check out: http://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/post/2015/07/27/anarchist-prisoner-eric-king-naabc-conference-trouncing-kkk-in-columbia-sc/

Mumia Abu-Jamal:

Mumia Abu-Jamal is contuing to be denied the medical care that he needs to survive his stay in prison at SCI-Mahone in Frackville, PA.

Hepatitis C is a dangerous liver disease which is growing among poor people and especially rampant in prisons. Mumia found himself diagnosed with Hep-C, as well as type-II diabetes and other medical circumstances, in August of this year. Drugs released within the last 18 months show remarkable cure-rates of 90-95%, but based on costs of $60-85K for a 12 week course, jail and prison authorities here (and in jails and prisons across the U.S.) are denied the incarcerated access to them.

The following is paraphrased from http://freemumia.com & http://wwwprisonradio.org:

Late in the day on Friday September 18th, United States Magistrate Judge for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Karoline Mehalchick issued a proposed order denying Mumia Abu-Jamal’s motion for preliminary injunction and his 1st Amended complaint seeking immediate treatment for active Hepatitis C.

In a calculated attempt to deny lifesaving health care and effective arguments on Mumia’s behalf, Judge Mehalchick preemptively issued this “proposed order” before Mumia’s lawyers had the opportunity to respond (as allowed by court local rules) to the Pennsylvania Department of Correction’s (DOC) opposition.

Bret Grote (Abolitionist Law Center) and co-counsel Bob Boyle (NYC) are expected to quickly file in court with 3rd Circuit Federal District Court Judge Robert Mariani to oppose this proposed order on procedural and substantive grounds. There is a fundraising campaign to get crowd-source treatment for Mumia Abu-Jamal as well as information to petition on his behalf available at http://bit.ly/fight4mumia and updates on his case can be found at http://freemumia.com

Eddie Africa

In a hopeful note, Eddie Africa of the MOVE9 will be up for parole in October of 2015 and is looking for support to hopefully get him out of this ridiculus and horrible stint of incarceration on bogus charges that have had him inside for 37 years of a 30-100 year sentence. From http://onamove.com:

” In October 2015 our Brother Eddie Africa is set to make another appearance before the Pennsylvania State Parole Board. Your letters of support is urgently needed. All of the information is below as follows:

We are asking for your support at this critical stage to secure the freedom Eddie deserves. Feel free to use parts of the sample letter at onamove.com. You can write in your own words and with your own experiences of/with Eddie.

NOTE: Please send all letters of support to Orie Ross, P.O. Box 575, Times Square Station, New York, NY 10108-0575 so they can be reviewed and sent to the Board. The deadline for letters will be Wednesday September 30, 2015.”

To learn more about the case of the MOVE9, check out our interviews with supporters by listening to this overview with Orie Lumumba on the last parole push and this one about the health of Phil Africa the week before he died. Phil had Hepatitis C, like Mumia Abu-Jamal does.

Animal Liberation in Florida

This report was sent anonymously to Bite Back Magazine, which is a semi regular periodical out of West Palm Beach, Florida. It details things of interest to radical animal liberation and a critique of the capitalist exploitation of animals.

In the words of the communique:

“In the late night hours of September 17th, after hiking miles through the forest, we descended upon a Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) pheasant holding pen located within the EE Wilson Game Management Area. Aviation snips were used to cut a hole in the netting surrounding the pen allowing the approximately 100 ring-necked pheasants held inside to escape into the wild. The immediate area in which these pheasants were released is located in the ‘safe zone’, a section of the park in which hunting is prohibited.

These pheasants were slated to be used as part of a ODFW sponsored pheasant hunt. It was the goal of this action to spare these animals from an almost certain death at the hands of hunters and to at the very least disrupt the normal functioning of the hunt. It is sick and disturbing that non-human animals are continued to be used as commodities by hunters to be tortured and killed for sport. These pheasants were born into a life of captivity and confinement and it was a beautiful sight to see them fly free for the first time.”

To see more from Bite Back, you can go to www.directaction.info or you can write them at:

3300 South Dixie Highway
Suite 1-231
West Palm Beach, FL 33405

or email them at info@directaction.info

Lelu Island Resists Pacific NorthWest LNG

This next update is from Warrior Publications which is an excellent news source for Indigenous anti-colonial struggles and resistance, and also aims to provide radical analysis of these struggles. It is published in occupied Coast Salish territory , or so called Vancouver, Canada.

Some background on this update:
Pacific NorthWest LNG (or Liquid Natural Gas) is a proposed natural gas liquefaction and export facility on Lelu Island in northeast British Columbia. The facility would liquefy and export natural gas produced by the company Progress Energy. Lelu Island and Flora Banks have historically been home to the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation for over 10.000 years, and this group holds the title to this land. Lelu Island is also an essential habitat for migrating juvenile fish and other shellfish, the loss of which would irreperably devastate the local ecology.

Earlier this spring members of the Lax Kw’alamms First Nation rejected a 1.15 billion dollar package from the company for the rights to build on Lelu Island. However, corporations are not to be trusted, and since August 15th of this year Lax Kw’alaams members and accomplices have had an encampment on Lelu Island to make sure that no drilling or building has been taking place.

Here is an update from the camp:

“On September 12, at approximately 7am, the drilling vessel Quin Delta attempted to drill on the northwest edge of Flora Bank. Members of the Lax Eula (or Lelu Island) occupation camp approached the workers on the vessel to explain that no drilling has been permitted and that all drilling activities must cease.

The workers on the vessel then desisted from drilling. However, a barge pulled by the tugboat Cadal from Wainwright Marine Services dropped markers in the water to prepare for further unauthorized work. Throughout the day the Quin Delta then attempted to remove equipment that had been installed in the ocean floor, requiring the use of a bucket-loader on a barge and a crane barge. Both attempts were unsuccessful due to mechanical failure.

Prince Rupert Port Authority and other contractor and surveyor boats shuttled back and forth throughout the day as well. As of 9pm the vessel and equipment still appear to be immobilized on the bank due to mechanical failure.

While this was happening on the water, over 30 people came out from many different nations to show their support. We are building friendships and solidarity across the entire Skeena watershed.

We expect the drilling boat to attempt work on the bank again tomorrow. We continue to need additional boats on the water, and people on the island, as we have been told that helicopters may attempt to land for on-island drilling.”

To learn more about this situation and to keep updated, you can visit: Warrior Publications and Red Power Media

You can also see exclusive footage of the land defenders from our comrade the Stimulator

People have called for physical and financial support to keep Petronas out of their territories, to help them out you can visit here

Playlist

Resist450 in St. Augustine this Sept + ARadio on #ReclaimTheFields (for Food Sovereignty & Prison Abolition)

http://resist450.org
Download This Episode

This week we spoke with Bobby C. Billie and Shannon Larsen of the Resist 450 Coalition. This coalition is set up to protest the so called “450th Commemoration” Celebration to be held in St Augustine FL at the beginning of September, which will mark the 450th anniversary of the settling of that city by Juan Ponce de Leon and Pedro Menendez, colonizers from Spain. In this interview we talk about indigenous struggle in St Augustine, the Doctrine of Discovery, the Action Camp which will occur on September 5th thru 8th, and more! To get involved with the Action Camp, or to donate to this cause, you can see all the information you’ll need at http://resist450.org

Additionally this week also we have audio from our comrades at ARadio Berlin! Anarchist Radio Berlin, which can be found at http://aradio.blogsport.de, did this interview with a UK-based organizer from the Reclaim the fields initiative, and they talk about the planned international camp in North-Wales, the relationship of food sovereignty and the prison system, and the topic of prison abolition as such.

You can send these folks feedback and comments at: aradio-berlin(at)riseup(dot)net Thanks to these comrades for sharing this audio! Stay tuned for more from ARadio Berlin next week.

In a bit of news, the trial of the Tarnac 10 is set to begin soon, minus the charges of “Terrorist Association.” The Tarnac case stems back to 2009 in Tarnac, France, the site of a farm commune on which 9 folks were arrested and accused of attempting sabotage on a high speed rail line. The case allegedly also linked the arrested, including Julian Coupat and Yildune Lévy, to the publishing group, The Invisible Commitee. The Invisible Commitee, which recently published “To Our Friends” is in the lineage of Tiqqun magazine, of which Coupat was a founder. http://www.anarchistnews.org/content/tarnac-eight-sent-trial-without-designation-terrorist-organization

A Virginian Anarchist by the name of Stephen Loughman was arrested a week after attending the anti-KKK rally in Columbia, SC, on July 18th. Stephen’s cellphone was dropped and he was arrested when he attempted to pick it up from the department of Sheriff Leon Lott. Stephen Loughman’s being accused attempting to incite hatred against the KKK, yelling profanity at the white supremacists and being in traffic. He’s being smeared in local media and by the Sheriff of being a career troublemaker who was attempting to incite the crowd to riot. He sounds like a pretty stand-up guy to us. You can find out more and support Stephen by visiting http://gofundme.com/e6b3tukuc . More at https://itsgoingdown.org/virginia-anarchist-arrested-week-sc-anti-klan-rally-support-needed/

Sean Swain speaks his piece on the recent drug delivery via drone, which occurred on July 29 at the Mansfield Correctional Institution some 65 miles southwest of Cleveland, OH. It contained almost a quarter of an ounce of heroin, over 2 ounces of marijuana and more than 5 ounces of tobacco. Sean speculates as to what other uses drones might have, and leaves us with words to ponder.

Playlist