Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cleveland 5 - Food Not Bombs

2012-06-18 "Urgent - Food Not Bombs volunteers and their friends need your support"
 Please consider helping our Food Not Bombs volunteers framed by the FBI just before the Occupy May Day events. The FBI targeted our volunteers and their friends almost as soon as they set up the kitchen at Occupy Cleveland. Brandon Baxter and Connor Stevens are just the most recent Food Not Bombs activist to be framed. You may remember that I was framed in 1994 accused of violent crimes in 1994 and faced 25 years to life in prison. I am free today because of the support of people like yourselves. Since I was framed we have witnessed attempts to accuse Conner Cash, Josh Connole, and many other volunteers on false charges of terrorism.
 Food Not Bombs needs your help again. Please review the press statement issued by our volunteers in Cleveland. Today we need to raise funds to retain an attorney for their defense. We will be asking you to join our campaign in other ways as well as soon as we have secured legal support.
 Thanks so much for your consideration.
 Keith McHenry
 co-founder of the food Not Bombs movement

2012-06-18 "Urgent Request -- Help Hire a legal team for the Cleveland 5!"
CONTACT: Hubert Cumberdale for The Cleveland 5 Justice Support Network [cleveland5justice@gmail.com] [cleveland5justice.org]
 Greetings. We are friends and family members of the "Cleveland 5," the five young men from Cleveland who stand accused of trying to demolish a bridge, two of whom (Brandon Baxter and Connor Stevens) were regularly active with Cleveland Food Not Bombs. For this reason and because there seems to exist a pattern of the FBI targeting Food Not Bombs activists, we would request support from other Food Not Bombs groups, their friends, families, and other supporters. We are working to support these young activists, in whatever ways they need.   Thus far, what stands out as the most pivotal thing is that the boys need a good lawyer, who cares about the case, has relevant experience and is willing to go the extra mile.  As it stands, they're all being represented by public defenders, with varying degrees of interest in the case.  We have been in communication with a local attorney with an inspiring record of civil rights work, but to hire him, we need to raise $20,000 immediately. We're not going to lie -- this is a desperate situation.  The trial date is set for this September, only three months from now.  This time frame will make building the case (reviewing evidence, making investigations, filing motions) incredibly challenging.  Every day that we're not able to hire a lawyer is a day closer to that deadline. Our friends are being tried for charges that hold a maximum sentence of several lifetimes.  The government is making a case in the media that these are dangerous anarchists, a word they equate with terrorism.  However, many journalists have questioned the nature of the government's investigation, suggesting that the FBI might be instigating actions, which they rope people into, rather than "catching people in the act."  We want to see our friends and family members go free, and believe that it is criminal for the the government to take them away from us, to use them as tools in their political theater. A link to donations can be found through the website:  cleveland5justice.org and  www.wepay.com/donations/cleveland-5-justice-legal-fund Thank you so much. A couple of these kids really believe they have a chance, and are so brave and resilient right now. They are staying positive and embracing their roles in this trial. it's truly an inspiration. The legal support group consists of people who hardly know what we are doing, doing it because we know we must. Parents and friends and activists. We desperately need help from the national community.
 Thanks for your consideration,
 The Cleveland 5 Justice Support Network


2012-06-18 "Update on the Cleveland 5"
    After almost two months of imprisonment, repression and an intense   campaign of media demonization, the Cleveland five remain strong and solid   in their refusal to cooperate with the FBI.  Two of the five - Brandon Baxter and Connor Stevens - were regularly active with Cleveland Food Not Bombs and have fallen victim to the pattern of FBI targeting that many other Food Not Bombs activists have experienced.
They also remain in desperate need of our support. They are getting very   little contact from the outside world and four of the five defendants are   being re represented by public defenders. Although right now these four   say they are happy with their lawyers, they also have no access to the   funds necessary to offer them the legal options they so desperately need   right now. We all know that “justice” basically means how much money you   have.
  Their support crew has been working hard to hustle the funds necessary to   hire a lawyer for Connor, the defendant who was most unhappy with his   legal representation. The lawyer, who is taking on the case at a reduced   cost, also plans to hire an investigative team to work on the case. As of   now, initial legal costs exceed $30,000 and are expected to be much more   than that.
  Even though these costs are huge and may seem insurmountable, the future   of the five is riding on the efforts of small autonomous groups of people   contributing to the struggle for their freedom. There will be no knights   in shining armor in this case, just us and the support we are able to   muster.
  We all know the risks of not supporting fringe anarchists in moments of   intense repression—when people feel alone they are more likely to snitch   or to look to reactionary belief systems for solace. While they are   remaining uncooperative with the government at this point, the future is   very uncertain if they do not get more support than they are getting.
   Please see the legal update and the individual updates below and take a   minute to send a book or a zine or to drop a line on these comrades.

Legal update:    
The five are being charged with “Use or Attempted Use of Explosive Materials” and “Conspiracy.”    
They have been incarcerated since May 1st and four of them are being held in a private prison in Youngstown, Ohio. The fifth, Doug Wright, is being held at the county jail in Trumbull County in Warren, Ohio.    
On June 15th, a “motion for detention” was signed by the judge in the case, preventing supporters from bonding them out before trial.    
The judge in their case seems to be tough and unsympathetic and is refusing requests for continuance by the lawyers. Although they have not had nearly enough time to prepare an adequate defense, the judge continues to insist that the trial will begin in early September. Although it is extremely unlikely to happen, it demonstrates the added pressure the five and their lawyers are under.    
As of now, Connor, Brandon, Anthony and Josh are being held at a private prison in Youngstown, Ohio called the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center [http://www.NOCC.com/facility/northeast-ohio-correctional-center/], run by the Corrections Corporation of America. Doug is currently being held the Trumbull County Jail [http://www.co.trumbull.oh.us/tc_sheriff.html] in Warren, Ohio.    
The four being held at NOCC are in solitary confinement (23 hours of lock   down a day with one hour of “recreation” in a small outdoor cage), can make phone calls only once every fifteen days and are permitted one legal call per day. Despite these rules, no one has been consistently able to make calls as their requests are repeatedly ignored.  They are allowed two visits per week, but they are only twenty minutes long and visitors have   to check in by 7am.

Individual updates:    
Brandon is incarcerated at NOCC where he is cell mates with his co-defendant Tony. Because the two are together, they seem to be doing well emotionally. He is in need of a decent legal dictionary, any criminal   defense books, and would like to be sent news articles that are being printed about the five. He’s spending time documenting the case and doing legal research as much as possible given the restrictions. He really wants letters and visitors.    
Tony is doing well emotionally and wants letters and visits. He is cellmates with Brandon at NOCC. He is working hard doing research to prepare for his case and has really offered a lot of emotional support to   Brandon and Connor, helping them stay strong.    
Josh’s situation is potentially the most urgent. He is having a very hard time mentally and emotionally and is getting very little support or outside contact. He is also, for unknown reasons, not allowed to have any   contact whatsoever with the other three comrades at NOCC. He has a history of mental health issues that have already been made public in the case, and which are not be effectively addressed by his captors. He is not getting adequate nutrition, is losing weight and feels constantly hungry. He usually does not take the hour of rec. available to him because he is too physically weak. He is in urgent need of support and letters.    
Connor is in high spirits and is looking forward to working with the new lawyer. He continues to be frustrated with the limitations of visitation and phone use and, sometime in June, went on hunger strike to protest these conditions. He is clear in his commitment to not cooperating with the government. He is also incarcerated at NOCC where he can sometimes have contact with Brandon and Tony.    
Doug is being held at Trumbull County Jail in Warren, Ohio where his lawyer requested he be transferred in hopes of improving his conditions. Like Josh, he is totally disconnected from any contact with his   co-defendants and feels very isolated. His lawyer has been urging him to take a plea, but so far he’s remaining strong. He’s getting very little support or outside contact and has no support from his family. He is   usually out of touch because of the conditions of his incarceration and   lack of support and usually has no idea what’s going on about the case, when court dates are, etc. He is also suffering from lack of sufficient   food and is also dealing with harassment from guards.

 Please write to them at:
 Last Name, First Name
 2240 Hubbard Rd
 Youngstown, OH 44505

 Here are their ID numbers:
 Stevens, Connor # 57978060
 Baxter, Brandon #57972060
 Hayne, Anthony #57975060f
 Stafford, Joshua #57976060

You can write to Doug at:
 Douglas L. Wright**
 150 High Street
 Warren, OH 44481
  *Letters must be in pre-stamped envelopes from the Post Office.  No glitter/sparkles/confetti/stickers/etc.  Plain lined or unlined paper is acceptable.  Photos are okay.
**Please be sure to include Doug's middle initial, L., when addressing letters to him as there are two Douglas Wrights at Trumbull County Jail in Warren.
  A note on security: As we know, all our letters to these comrades will be   read, photocopied, and maybe even mailed to the FBI field office in our   city.  Therefore, we should be aware of what we write, the address we   write from, and the name we use. Please, do not mention the facts of the   case, anything at all illegal, or anything you do not want the FBI to   know.  Please write to them simply to show them they are not alone, and   that you are thinking about them.  Send them an article you think they   might like, or a poem, picture, drawing, etc.  We should know the risks,   but not let them deter us from supporting our friends.

Donations to Legal Fund:
 If you would like to make donations via check or money order, please make the check out to Conveyor Belt Collective, who is handling donations.
Send checks to:
Cleveland 5 Justice
P.O. Box 602117
Cleveland, OH 44102

 Please separate any donations over $3000 into multiple contributions.
 Your identity will be kept confidential unless you would prefer otherwise.
 Thanks so much, your help is greatly appreciated!
 For more info and updates about their case, check out their support group’s site at [cleveland5justice.org]
 To read the affidavit in the case check out [http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/05/01-4]

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