Activists Summoned Once Again Before a Federal Grand Jury

Posted by Brendan Kiley on Thu, Sep 13, 2012 at 2:45 PM

A month ago, I met Leah-Lynn Plante, a Portland woman who had been summoned before a federal grand jury in Seattle—without an attorney present, which is how grand juries work—ostensibly to testify about the May Day smashup during which a federal courthouse was vandalized.

But we don’t know what, exactly, the grand jury wanted to know—she came to Seattle, but refused to testify. She was told to come back today and has returned, along with several dozen demonstrators.

Plante was not in Seattle on May Day, and she says the prosecutors know that—but she is a self-described anarchist. Her house was raided by the FBI, part of a series of raids in Seattle and Portland by local and federal law-enforcement officials, who, according to the warrant, were looking for black clothing, sticks, paint, computers, cell phones, and “anti-government or anarchist literature or material.”

"The assumption that this is about broken windows on a courthouse [part of the May Day vandalism] is a false one," she said in an interview on the courthouse steps this afternoon. "This is a witch hunt."

Emily Langlie, from the US Attorney’s office, disagrees—this afternoon, she reiterated that “we do not prosecute people for their political beliefs.”

Nevertheless, Plante thinks she has been targeted for her political beliefs and suspects prosecutors are hoping that she, along with other people who’ve received subpoenas, will incriminate others. If she refuses to cooperate, she could be jailed for contempt of court. Plante was scheduled to go before the grand jury at 2:30 pm.

She also explained that she’s not condoning the May Day vandalism. “Just because I’m taking this stand does not mean I endorse anything that happened on May Day,” she said.

She’s been told she’s not the target of the investigation and was recently granted immunity from prosecution in the case, which is more problematic than it sounds. Once she’s immune from prosecution, she says, she loses some legal ground in her right to remain silent, because she can’t plead the Fifth. Last month, she was prepared to be jailed. Today, she’s prepared to be jailed. “It’s the last thing I want,” she said. “No—that’s not right. The last thing I want is for people to give into this kind of pressure.”

Other folks—non-anarchists—at the courthouse today made similar arguments. Adrienne Weller, a longtime socialist, said “the widespread raids and intimidation tactics discourage our freedom of speech and dissent against a government that desperately needs dissent.”

Weller said this issue is important, not just for activists, but for “people if they care about their right to strike, or even if they care about their right to speak.”

Collaboration with the Bethlehem, Palestine based photographer Elias Halabi

We must call for the immediate dismantling of Israel’s hundreds of settler colonies, the 600 kilometer-long Apartheid Wall, and the thousands of military checkpoints; and an end to illegal collective punishment in the form of home demolitions, forced removal of Palestinians from their homes, the closure of entire Palestinian villages and cities, and military-imposed curfews.  

Demand the release of all the heroic Palestinian political prisoners, especially administrative detainees, and including Ahmad Saadat, the General Secretary of the PFLP.

Support all of the Palestinian resistance forces and their armed struggle against the Israeli Occupation and colonialism. We support the Palestinian national liberation program —self-determination; Right of Return for all Palestinian refugees and their descendants, to the homes and land from which they were exiled in 1947-48 and again in 1967; full independence and equality; and an end to the illegal Israeli occupation of historical Palestine and other Arab lands, including the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem, the 1948 territories (present-day “Israel”), the Lebanese Shebaa Farms, and the Syrian Golan Heights.

Finally, demand an end to US and Israeli repression against Palestine solidarity activists around the world. Demand the release of the political prisoners such as the Holy Land 5, and the immediate end to the ongoing grand jury intimidation of the anti-war 23 (more info at

Tuesday, Sept. 2: Call the prosecutors and tell them, ‘Drop the charges now!’

Call Jonathan Tukel in Detroit at 313-226-9749
Chief of National Security Unit, U.S. Attorney’s office, Eastern District of Michigan

Call Barbara McQuade at 313-226-9100 or
313-226-9501 (voicemail)
U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan

When you call say, “Hello, my name is ________, and I am calling from _________ to demand that U.S. Attorney McQuade drop the charges against Rasmea Odeh.” (first name pronounced Russ-MEE-yuh)

Make the calls!
Tuesday, Sept. 2, from 9 am to 5 pm Eastern Time

More info on Rasmea Odeh: 

On facebook like Drop The Charges Against Rasmea Now

Watch on

Don’t know if this is already on tumblr, but reblog?

Security Culture = Safe Sex

Resnick: Okay, so one thing I’ve heard more than once at meetings when security culture comes up is that … well, there’s a sense that too much precaution grows into (or comes out of) paranoia, and paranoia breeds mistrust—and all of it can be paralyzing and lead to a kind of inertia. How would you respond to something like that?

Appelbaum: The people who that say that—if they’re not cops, they’re feeling unempowered. The first response people have is, whatever, I’m not important. And the second is, they’re not watching me, and even if they were, there’s nothing they could find because I’m not doing anything illegal. But the thing is, taking precautions with your communications is like safe sex in that you have a responsibility to other people to be safe—your transgressions can fuck other people over. The reality is that when you find out it will be too late. It’s not about doing a perfect job, it’s about recognizing you have a responsibility to do that job at all, and doing the best job you can manage, without it breaking down your ability to communicate, without it ruining your day, and understanding that sometimes it’s not safe to undertake an action, even if other times you would. That’s the education component.

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