THIS BLOG is NOW RETIRED

I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

David Rovics: We Are Everywhere

To my fellow activists now struggling through life - let this be a reminder that you are not alone and that we desperately need you here. All the injustice, grief, war, and human suffering calls for us to stay and do everything we can about it - you can't help us anymore when you're gone. Don't give up the fight - your last shred of hope may just keep someone else alive, too.
BLOG POSTS

Saturday, August 28, 2010

RNC 8: Oseland sentenced under plea.

This is a stiff sentence for what I've done many times myself - fantasized with friends about what I'd like to do to the thugs who rape and plunder the world while killing or locking up all us resisters. How is what they do not criminal, but just talking about knocking over a few newspaper boxes is severe enough to rip a person from their life and loved ones for three months?

I know - they're the ones who make the laws to suit themselves. Property should never be more important than people, though.

Sometimes, business as usual needs to be stopped by ordinary people taking back the streets.
I guess this kind of thing is why it doesn't happen more often - they demonize and brutalize the few with courage to challenge their lines (and borders) in order to scare the many into submission. I think we should shut the town down at least once a month, myself, and make these people pay attention to the harm that their selfishness and greed causes. They just slap each other with fines if they get caught devastating families in shady mortgage deals or entrapping innocent people for their politics, while this kid goes to the workhouse and gets a criminal record for wanting to stop the madness for a night...


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Man pleads guilty to gross misdemeanor, gets 91 days

By Emily Gurnon
egurnon@pioneerpress.com
twincities.com 08/27/2010

From a bang to a whimper.

The criminal case against Republican National Convention protester Erik Oseland was resolved this afternoon, when he pleaded guilty to third-degree conspiracy to commit criminal damage to property, a gross misdemeanor.

The other charges against him were dismissed.

The former member of the RNC 8 admitted to talking with several other people before the 2008 event about knocking over newspaper boxes, thus "impeding the flow of convention traffic," said his attorney, Ted Dooley.

"You understand when you tip over these things, it damages the property," Dooley asked Oseland.

"Yes," Oseland said.

Oseland didn't damage any property; he was arrested two days before the convention began.

Ramsey County District Judge Teresa Warner sentenced Oseland to the time agreed upon in the plea agreement: 91 days in the workhouse — with the condition that he not be called to testify against any other RNC defendants.

It was a far cry from two years ago, when investigators raided the homes of two would-be protesters and Sheriff Bob Fletcher displayed at a press conference what they had found: sharp objects to pierce delegates' buses, buckets of alleged urine to throw at police and materials to make Molotov cocktails, among other things, he asserted.

Fletcher said at the time that plans were under way "to both shut down the Republican National Convention and actually harm the officers that are working this convention" and added that what was found "is only a portion of what is out there."

Eventually, eight members of the RNC Welcoming Committee, an anarchist protest group, were charged with second-degree conspiracy to commit riot in furtherance of terrorism — a charge that carried a potential five years in prison.

The county attorney's office later dropped the terrorism charges. But the eight still faced charges of first-degree conspiracy to commit property damage and second-degree conspiracy to commit riot, both felonies.

The 2008 criminal complaint against the group alleged that Oseland put a video on YouTube entitled "Video Map of the St. Paul Points of Interest," which featured prominent buildings and hotels in downtown St. Paul. It alleged that he and another man had discussed making Molotov cocktails to use during the RNC protests. It also accused him of planning to disable delegates' buses.

Oseland, 23, of Nisswa, Minn., declined comment after the hearing.

County Attorney Susan Gaertner said that whenever a case involves multiple defendants and conspiracy charges, "you're going to have varying degrees of culpability.

"You're also going to have varying degrees of evidence to support the charge of conspiracy," Gaertner said. "That certainly was an aspect of resolving the case against Mr. Oseland."

She said she did not know whether any other plea offers were on the table for the remaining defendants.

Dooley said the fact that Oseland would not have to testify against his co-defendants was "pivotal" to his agreeing to the plea.

"He wouldn't do that if you burned his feet," Dooley said.

At least two of the other RNC defendants attended the hearing.

"The seven of us are still committed to taking it all the way to trial," said defendant Garrett Fitzgerald.

Asked if they were disappointed in today's plea, defendant Max Specktor said, "Conspiracy charges create these situations where the state tries to divide us. That's the greater disappointment."

Critics have derided law enforcement and the county attorney's office for prosecuting the protesters, saying the focus on them has been an attempt to "criminalize dissent."

"This is clearly not about criminalizing dissent," Gaertner said. "It's about criminalizing destructive behavior and prosecuting destructive behavior. He pleaded guilty to that, and I think that's appropriate."

Oseland must report to the Ramsey County workhouse on Oct. 20.

Emily Gurnon can be reached at 651-228-5522.

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