Archive | March, 2012

Hung Jury for Shanti

24 Mar
From Occupy Seattle Facebook Page:
BREAKING NEWS!!
Shanti Wyatt who was arrested October 17th at Westake with around twelve other OS members while sitting around a Sukkot, a tent put up in celebration of the Jewish holiday, chose unlike the others to have a jury trial.
We learned today that there was a hung jury.

Occupy Sukkot-Seattle
https://www.facebook.com/events/151818668246678/

Occupy Judaism • Sukkahs are the new front in the battle to occupy NYC and Seattle
http://blog.occupyjudaism.org/post/11478130742/sukkahs-are-the-new-front-in-the-battle-to-occupy-nyc

Becky Zarkh’s Pre-Trial is on April 2nd

21 Mar

Becky was arrested at the Port Shutdown and is facing three charges: assault, obstruction and blocking pedestrian traffic.

Support Becky at her next pre-trial on April 2 @ 2:30pm in Seattle Municipal Court Room 1103.

Seattle Steam’s Legal Threats Against Environmental Justice Leader

20 Mar

 

In a response to Seattle Steam’s threats against free speech, there is a Die-In scheduled for 12pm on April 5th.

From Occupy Seattle Environmental Justice Working Group:

Seattle Steam’s lawyer is threatening to sue one of our Environmental Justice folks for “defamation and commercial disparagement” since our campaign has been telling the lethal truth about Seattle Steam’s toxic incinerator near Pike Place Market, and its much larger incinerator planned near Pioneer Square. The lawyer’s threatening letter came only days after our F11 die-in at the market.

But this letter is a threat not only to our Environmental Justice campaign against the incinerator, IT ALSO THREATENS THE RIGHT OF OCCUPY SEATTLE TO PROTEST ANYWHERE. This letter tries to forbid us from calling an incinerator an incinerator!!

This an outrage, so… LET’S DIE IN AGAIN! APRIL 5, NOON.  Gather at 1st and Pike just outside Pike Place Market and march to market entrance for our die-in. Then we march to the lawyer’s offices at Pier 70 on Alaskan Way to die in there. Our Die Ins are working! Let’s show this legal Hit Man that Occupy Seattle has changed the rules. Let’s show Seattle Steam that its killer incinerator will no longer be allowed to threaten the lives and health of the people of Seattle.

Overwhelming medical evidence caused the American Lung Association to state in its 2008 State of the Air Report (pg. 42/204) about particulate matter pollution like the Seattle Steam incinerator emits right now by Pike Place Market: “First and foremost, short-term exposure to particle pollution can kill. Deaths can occur on the very day that particle levels are high.”

We also call on Occupy and all folks to file complaints against the Seattle Steam lawyer’s Washington State Bar license. Follow this link to file your complaint.

Here is sample language to use:

re: complaint against Edward W. Pettigrew, WSBA # 2272, Graham and Dunn, PC, Pier 70, 2810 Alaskan Way-Suite 300, Seattle, WA, 98121-1128, Tel: 206-340-9621.

I am filing this complaint against Edward Pettigrew for his February 15, 2012 letter sent to Duff Badgley of Occupy Seattle that contains knowingly false statements of facts, violates the constitutional rights of free speech of Mr. Badgley and Occupy Seattle, maliciously seeks to curb lawful protest by Mr. Badgley and Occupy Seattle, and constitutes harassment of both Mr. Badgley and Occupy Seattle. Mr. Pettigrew’s letter is flagrantly unprofessional and unbecoming of a member of the Washington State Bar Association. I ask the WSBA to investigate this matter at once to determine if stern sanctions against Mr. Pettigrew, including disbarment, are appropriate. Thank you. [signed]”

Also, here is the exhaustive list of medical and scientific citations Occupy Seattle Environmental Justice always includes in campaign literature to educate folks about the lethal threat of Seattle Steam’s incinerators:

  1. Pike Place Market incinerator (1319 Western Ave.): Burning wood emits more particulate matter (PM) than coal combustion, per unit of energy produced. Source: industry fillings and analyses accepted by EPA, per Dr. Wm. Sammons, MD, Cambridge, MA
  2.  Pioneer Square incinerator (633 Post Ave.): Would emit 166 tons per year of PM. Source: DOE EA, 6/10
  3.  Both incinerators: “Short term exposure to particle pollution can kill”. Source: American Lung Association
  4. Both incinerators: PM can kill on “the very day of exposure”, when PM levels are high. Source: ALA
  5. Both incinerators: PM is a health hazard with no safe level of exposure. Sources: American Heart Association & EPA
  6.  Both incinerators: Health effects of PM: premature death, heart attacks, cancer,strokes, lung function changes in children, heart arrhythmias, chronic lung disease,higher ER admissions. Source: EPA
  7. Both incinerators:The smallest PM, nano-PM, is the most dangerous PM.Source: AHA
  8. Both incinerators: No pollution control device can effectively reduce nano-PM.Sources: Dr. Wm. Sammons, MD, Cambridge, MA, and Air & Waste Management Association.
  9. Both incinerators: Nano-PM is completely unregulated. Source: Dr. Wm. Sammons, MD and WA air pollution agencies
  10. Both incinerators: Nano-PM is so small it enters our blood directly through our lungs—and attacks our bodies systemically. Source: American Lung Association State of the Air Report-2008
  11. Both incinerators: Nano-PM is now being associated with congenital conditions, lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. Sources: Dr. Wm. Sammons, MD, Cambridge, MA and Block & Calderon-Garciduenas, 2009
  12. Both incinerators: Nano-PM is not stopped by any human body barriers, including the blood-brain barrier and the placenta. Source: Dr. Wm. Sammons, MD, Cambridge, MA and Block & Calderon-Garciduenas, 2009
  13. Pike Place Market incinerator: Burning wood emits more CO2 than burning coal, per unit of energy produced. CO2 is the leading greenhouse gas causing climate change. Source: Manomet study, Boston, MA, 6/10.
  14. Pioneer Square incinerator: 207,000 tons per year of carbon dioxide would be emitted.Source: DOE EA.
  15. Both incinerators: No pollution control devices are available to reduce or eliminate CO2 emissions.
  16. Pike Place Market incinerator: Burning wood emits more nitrogen oxides (NOx) than burning coal, per unit of energy produced, according to industry filings and analyses accepted by the EPA.
  17.  Pioneer Square incinerator: Would emit 31 tons/yr. of NOx and Volatile Organic Compounds. DOE EA
  18.  Both incinerators: NOx and VOCs attack human respiratory systems and cause ground level ozone that causes asthma in children. Source: Dr. Wm. Sammons, MD, Cambridge, MA
  19. Pike Place Market incinerator: Wood construction debris (“urban wood”) can be contaminated with toxic substances including paint, asbestos, resins, and glues that defy industry attempts at removal.
  20. Pike Place Market incinerator: Wood combustion emits dioxin. Dioxin produces cancer at far lower concentrations than any of more than 600 chemicals studied by the EPA.Source: EPA
  21. Both incinerators: Seattle Steam has been awarded more than $55M in federal subsidiesto build and retrofit its two downtown incinerators. Press /web accounts
  22. Both incinerators: It is obscene to subsidize a highly polluting corporation in a time of budget free-fall—or ever.
  23. WE CITIZENS OF SEATTLE ARE LITERALLY PAYING TO HAVE OURSELVES POISONED!!

Ed Mast’s Trial is set for April 24

20 Mar

Ed’s Trial will be April 24th  at 8:30 am in Municipal Court Room 1002 (Judge Rosen).  The trial is from his October arrest at Westlake.

For Immediate Release: Chase Bank Occupiers: Not Guilty. “A Huge Victory”

15 Mar

We received the following press release from the Chase 5.

Almost all the Chase 5 and many supporters minutes after the verdict was announced.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Chase Bank Occupiers: Not Guilty. “A Huge Victory”

CONTACT:

The defendants Danielle Simmons, Liam Wright, Sarah Svobodny, Hudson Williams-Eynon, Michael Stevens and their lawyers Braden Price and David Hancock, are available for interview.

Contact for the defendants: itsrighttooccupy@gmail.com

Braden Pence (Lawyer) – 206.551.1516, braden@pencefirm.com

David Hancock (Lawyer) – 206.422.0848, david@defenderoftheaccused.org

Thursday, March 15th, five occupiers who shut down a Chase Bank in the city of Seattle on November 2nd of 2011 heard their verdict: Not Guilty. When the unanimous decision by the jury of six was announced today the shock, and elation, of the five occupiers and their supporters swept the room. “This sets a totally new precedent,” said one young woman.

The verdict was read at 4:15 of the third day of trial, having come after days of argument, examination of witnesses and cross examination. The City, having brought the charges, put the manager of the Chase Bank branch on the stand as well as three members of the Seattle Police Department. One had been working as private security for Chase Bank that day while wearing a police uniform.

Danielle Simmons, one of the defendants, after trial said, “I am in shock. The jury decided that our actions were justified and whether this is because they thought it was somehow lawful or just the right thing to do, something is changing, and I think it’s beautiful.”

On the day of November 2nd the five, now innocent occupiers, chained themselves together inside of the Chase bank using what is commonly known as a “lockbox.” When a march of about 200 arrived the branch was finally locked down and customers were informed that they should leave. The branch remained closed for the rest of the day.

This is a huge victory for the Occupy Movement,” added Liam Wright, another defendant. “Every step of the way this bank occupation and the follow up has been more successful than we could have ever hoped for. We wanted to make clear to everyone that we don’t want a world defined by banks, we don’t want to live under them. We want to be human beings living together, free from the dead weight of financial profiteering.”

Liam Wright concluded, “They act like we will live under the rule of banks and money forever. But they can’t stop us. They can’t jail us.”

One of the occupiers, Michael Stevens said, “Right now the American political and corporate establishment is headed for another election. If anything, candidates might disagree about how much they want to limit birth control or how long the military should put off bombing Iran. This is so horrifying it’s ludicrous. Meanwhile, we are determined to end the rule of banks and billionaires — over us and over this whole planet. This doesn’t even appear on the radar of ‘official politics,’ yet millions agree with us.”

Chase 5 Trial, Day Two: SPD Works for Chase

15 Mar

This is a report back from Wednesday’s proceedings.  This was put together after a long day in court and will be updated to add more details from Chase 5’s testimony.  Today (Thursday), the Jury will be sent into deliberations.

Today the Chase 5’s trial continued. Both the prosecution and defense presented their witnesses and the Chase 5 took the stand. At least another day of trial lies ahead, where both sides will present closing arguments, followed by jury deliberation, and finally a verdict.

Braden Pence, one of two defense attorneys for the Chase 5, examines evidence during a recess on Wednesday. Behind him lie PVC pipe used by the Chase5 on November 2nd.

Suspense is building, and the outcome remains uncertain.

The morning began with a debate over whether the instruction could be allowed for the jury to decide if Chase Bank is a semi-public space because of the incredible public funding that it received through the bailouts of 2008 and collusion with the government. Like the necessity instruction (the ability for the jurors to discuss and rule on whether it was necessary for the defendants to break the law), the day before, this was also shot down by the Judge McKenna. This makes for an increasingly narrow permissible defense.  However, the statement read inside the bank was taken as evidence on November 2nd, and the jury will be allowed to examine it, along with the PVC pipes and chains, during deliberations.

A couple dozen occupiers sat in the courtroom in support as the prosecution brought forward the manager of the Chase Bank branch that the Chase 5 occupied on November 2nd of last year. He continued his testimony from the day before, as to the events of the day.  However, the events  themselves were not in dispute by the defense.  Surveillance video from the Chase branch was shown to the jurors, revealing a well organized Chase 5 locking down inside the bank, forcing SPD to cut them out of the lock boxes later that afternoon.  An SPD Lieutenant testified that he was on foot when a march left Seattle Central Community College and received no cooperation from the marchers in his attempts to determine their final destination.  The march left SCCC right as the Chase 5 began occupying the Bank.  Its arrival forced the total shutdown of the bank.

Photo Credit: Franz Ais.

The most interesting testimony was that of a police witness who was first on the scene when the Chase 5 locked down inside the bank. What to many was a revelation, came to light: He had been working as a uniformed police officer under the pay of Chase, to the tune of $44 an hour. The uniformed police enforcer of Chase’s security was charged for the day with patrolling between five Chase locations in the downtown area of Seattle because of planned protests.

This fact is worth repeating: A uniformed SPD officer, patrolling public property between Chase banks, under the pay of Chase. While the other two police officers testified, more or less without incident, telling the stories of the various roles that they played in the arrests, the first’s testimony signaled to many in the court room as to how deeply embedded corporations and finance are with the government.

After hearing from prosecuting witnesses, the defense began calling the Chase 5 to testify one by one.

The defense attorneys took turns asking each of the five to give personal background information and how they came to be involved in Occupy Seattle.  Most of the Chase 5 met and became friends through Occupy Seattle’s General Assemblies. Some testified that their direct action on November 2nd was motivated by  frustration with sign-waving and marches that have not had real impact on the institutions like Banks, which lie at the root of peoples’ pain and suffering.

Despite the Judge’s ruling to disallow the defense to make political arguments about Chase Bank, he did allow minimum testimony from the 5 as to their “state of mind” leading up to November 2nd.  Despite frequent objections from the prosecutor, when asked by the defense attorneys why they each decided to take the action they did, they were able to (briefly) raise broader political questions about Chase Bank.

Each of the Chase 5 testified separately about the unprecedented collusion between banks and government; the destructive role that banks play in society, the foreclosure crisis and Chase profiting from food stamps; the blurred line between public and private space when the government funds banks who in turn control local governments through finance; the need to put one’s body on the line, regardless of the risks, to confront the banks; witnessing SPD attack and beat occupy protestors; and that it is necessary and just to disrupt the normalcy and challenge the system and its forced immiseration of the people.

Each of the defendants were asked by the defense if they thought they had the legal right to take the actions they did.  In light of their testimony described above, each of the 5 answered ‘yes’.

Besides frequent objections to Chase 5’s testimony, there was little cross-examination by the prosecution. The 6 jurors listened intently to the Chase 5’s testimony.

Wednesday brought home in a very tangible way, how the police act as the “private army” of the 1% in the words of New York’s Mayor Bloomberg.  The day in court also revealed the way in which banks are treated on a higher level than ordinary people.  That they have an entire police and legal system at their disposal, to harass, arrest, and prosecute those with the temerity to question its legitimacy and to rebel against it.

For disrupting a bank, the Chase 5 and hundreds of marchers temporarily brought to a grinding halt the mundane yet horrifying machinery of capital.  Yet they are on trial as petty criminals.

The Jury will have an opportunity to consider the 5’s testimony. Will a brave juror themself call into question the basis on which they will be directed to rule in the case?

Chase 5 Trial Continues This Morning (Thursday) with Closing Arguments and Jury Deliberations

15 Mar

An update from yesterday will be posted shortly.

Closing arguments will start this morning and the Judge will give jury instructions before he sends them into deliberation.