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Citizen-Maintained Open-Source Infrastructure – Creating Resiliency

By: TarheelDem Friday April 4, 2014 7:40 am

This year 2014 is an election year in the United States and several other nations. In most of the world, electoral politics has reached a dead end because it is sidelined by the economically, politically, or culturally powerful into self-aggrandizement at the expense of citizens. This is a year in which there is an international call for a wave of action. This year is one of those times that the ancient Greeks called kairos and the ancient Chinese saw as the movement of Heaven. Like most times of this character, it will likely also satisfy the Urban Dictionary’s definition of kairotic moment in echo of the late 1960s.

A bucket of kitchen utensils in the foreground of this photo of Occupy Montreal's kitchen in a tent, with piles of packaged ingredients & kitchen workers in background.

The kitchen at Occupy Montreal. Movements like Occupy teach us to build parallel, non-governmental structures for community support.

The latest report from the International Panel on Climate Change (2500 pages long) indicates that this might be the last moment to think clearly before a widely experienced catastrophe strikes. And James Burke’s 1989 PBS series on climate change did say that 2015 was the moment of truth in which all doubt was removed. Moreover, the Christian apocalyptics are having twitchy blow-dries and good book sales. One does not take so many varied portents of imminent societal collapse lightly even if one is using quaint language to stay calm about the entire matter.

Resiliency is an eco-jargon word for surviving the catastrophe with some possibility of continuing a creative civilization. It is the equivalent of the economist’s deflation jargon “soft landing”. Can we just have this revolution without too much disruption to my own personal routines? Can we just ease into the new civilization? If we can’t hope, can we at least have some positive and realistic vision about the future? Something without requiring miracles or magical thinking or divine intervention or the spiritual transformation of every single last person on earth including the Koch Brothers and Robert Mugabe? This certainly is a moment for one last attempt at laying the groundwork for resiliency.

But how to do that? We are clear that our best survival tactic has to do with strong local economic networks for food, shelter, health care, and community support. At least those of us who are not buying guns wholesale to fend off the likes of us do.

And we understand that what collapses in a collapse is that which connects us to resources, to the labor of other people under a division of labor, and to the tools, equipment, and workspaces that provide goods, services, information, culture, and care. That is, the collapse of public and corporate goods and services means the collapse of infrastructure.

When institutions disappear and there are only individuals, infrastructure has to do with those goods and services that you want everyone to have either as a moral principle, as a matter of reciprocation, or as a matter of practical defense of what is required for the survival or yourself and your own most valuable personal network of people.

Infrastructure is a matter of moral philosophy, but not some specific moral philosophy although contradictory moral philosophies are excluded. And it is a universal standard.

In the experiments with citizen-created infrastructure in the Occupy Wall Street encampments, the basic infrastructure was available shelter (especially in rough weather), food, security, a voice in governance, a job to do, and a voice to the rest of the world. Those were provided even to those who were living on the street before Occupy Wall Street as fundamental human rights. There were long and serious debates about the scope of the infrastructure to provide and the practical matters of securing the material resources and expertise to support that infrastructure.


Reflections on the Verdict in the NATO 3 Trial

By: TarheelDem Sunday February 9, 2014 9:17 am

[Backstory: Report from Chicago Spring: Thank You for Returning My Shoelaces and Belt. Now Can You Please Find My Drivers License and Computer?: My Experience Being Detained Prior to the NATO Summit]

The Chicago Police were well prepared for NATO protesters – and then some

I’ve been asked by several people to reflect on the verdict in the NATO 3 trial as best as my circumstances permit. Because my circumstances are not unique to people who have dissented or journalists (citizen-journals or professional journalists) who have covered dissent in the US, I will attempt to highlight what I see as the broader implications within my limited knowledge of Illinois and Chicago laws and politics.

Chilling of Journalism and Dissent

When I was released on May 18, 2012, from a detention center on the West Side of Chicago, I was released “pending further investigation.” That little bit of law enforcement manipulation means that the Chicago Police Department, a willing prosecutor, and an agreeable grand jury can decide arbitrarily at any time to charge me on whatever charges they can create a narrative for–unless I behave myself in some way known only to them.

For me the nightmare and the flashbacks are not yet over; nor can I properly say that my constitutional freedoms have been in practice restored. Additionally, after 17 months, my property seized as “evidence” has not be properly returned to me. And while this is not unexpected, it shows another way law enforcement can exert power and exact punishment in extra-judicial ways over people exercising their legitimate constitutional rights. It is just another form of procedural punishment before or without trial in the same way that the procedures regarding the provision of medication to detainees is. In my case that was de facto imposing a fine of $400 or so through medical bills by the manner in which the Chicago Police Department (CPD) decided to deliver my heart medications to me. The same is true for the exorbitant jail phone service racket, a sweetheart deal for the phone provider and an extra-judicial fine on anyone arrested. These don’t apply only to dissenters and journalist detained, but arbitrary detention of dissenters and journalists to expose them to this system intends to intimidate them into shutting up. And it is law enforcement’s way of punishing those who are found not guilty; law enforcement never makes a mistake, there can be no innocence.

The health care personnel at the hospital to which I was taken must now have a strange idea of who might be a terrorist based on the fact that the cop who took me there was waving around my charges sheet. That can only heighten the fear in some middle class communities in the Chicago area. “I saw one of them…”

The use of undercover cops in the way that the CPD infiltrated organizations involved in protesting, strikingly including the street medics, makes one understand that any organization doing anything can be construed as a threat, infiltrated with someone who knows how to get uncontexted conversations to become critical evidence, then create a narrative to make the worst case of the evidence, and take it to court as a high-profile case in which the media operate totally out of the prosecution framing. Needless to say, this is McCarthyism  pure and simple. Or worse, the processes that we rightly condemn in police states.

Does it make me more circumspect in what I say? Of course it does. I’m more aware that there is some invisible line that I am walking with regard to reporting what I saw and what I see and advocating what I think as a citizen needs to be done.

Prosecutorial Shenanigans, Judicial Elections, and Political Culture

How bad were the prosecutorial shenanigans in the NATO 3 trial? Some news reporters were hoping for jury nullification as a punishment for prosecutorial overreach. And how lax was the judge at these shenanigans? From a charitable perspective, he allowed the prosecution enough latitude hoping it would come out as some semblance of justice in the verdict. The points at which, in my opinion, he should have acted and did not was in allowing the admission of a recipe for making pipe bombs without provenance or relevance and his failure to rule in favor of the directed verdict motion by the defense before it went to the jury. IMO that distracted the jury from ample consideration of the evidence in incendiary device charges. I understand that directed verdicts are difficult to get, but the evidence presented seemed so disconnected from the accused and so much that of actions of the undercover officers.

Particularly interesting in the evidence was Officer Mehmet Uygen’s testimony that he brought the beer bottles partially filled with gas and stoppered with scraps of his own bandana into the apartment in a waste can and covered them so they would not smell. I keep imagining one of us, other than the three, smelling gas, saying “WTF”, and destroying the carefully planted evidence. That assumes that Officer Uygen is telling the truth about when he placed the evidence in the apartment. The shenanigans in the introduction of the pipe bomb instructions call into question the integrity of the testimony about other evidence. There is no independent evidence that gas was ever in the apartment as far as I know. And a news report of an interview with the residents of the front apartment indicates that the police were very interested in wanting them to assert that they smelled gas shows that the CPD was intent on constructing a narrative even before the evidence technicians arrived.

Frankly, there is nothing in the evidence more than three guys humored a couple of undercover cops in the undercover cops’ own fetishization of molotov cocktails and fantasy (or was the cops’ own deepest anxieties) of cops burning from a tossed molotov cocktail. And that an all- too-brief DHS-sponsored training course in counter-terrorism and crowd control inspired these anxieties and the narrative that went with it. That is to say, the evidence is so scant that many narratives can be forced on it.

And so we come to the elected state’s attorney and the elected state judge in the case. Cynically or gullibly both of them bought into the terrorism narrative in a way that shaped the outcome of the trial, and to the states attorney’s satisfaction, produced a guilty verdict that the judge has the possibility of exacting a sentence of 30 years for each of the NATO 3. We will see on February 28 how far down that road the judge is willing to go.

Elected. And in the City of Chicago, that means elected with the aid of the longtime Chicago city machine that was put together by Richard J. Daley and maintained, even with more independent mayors, by organizations at the ward level and through capture of a sufficient number of aldermen, who in turn have a core of get-out-the-vote workers and strategies to deliver enough votes in their local geography. On items that have high interest with those who pull the strings of the machine–and the G8/NATO Summits were apparently of high interest to creating a global image for Chicago–the rest of the machine moves with the machine. Even Rahm [Mayor Rahm Emmanuel] moves with the machine, he’s no Richard J. Daley. In this case, the state’s attorney and the judge are not free and independent agents of justice.

Leviathan and Goliath — Detroit and Jerusalem

By: TarheelDem Thursday December 26, 2013 11:35 am

Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan argues that in a state of nature human nature is to be such that life is nasty, brutish, and short and that the corporate state (the Leviathan and Hobbes included the famous picture on the frontispiece of his book) is the implied social contract that provides protection and establishes civilization. For Hobbes, there was not alternative to the absolute ruler. Fortunately for us, Hobbes, kicked off a debate that still goes on as the the “natural” (today we would likely say “sustainable”) elements of government.

Cover of Leon Uris' Exodus

Books, history, and two cities under siege.

Goliath is the giant Philistine warrior in the the Biblical Old Testament Book of Samuel (1 Samuel 17), killed by the youth and future king David by as stone launched from a slingshot that one version of modern critical analysis asserts caught in Goliath’s gr eaves, causing him to stumble and allowing David to behead him. The structure of the story is such to provide the impression that the Philistines had let their main weapon go far ahead of the ranks of troops in order to make short shrift of the romantic war-crazed youth. Regardless of the historical detail, the traditional reading is one of the action of Yahweh.

Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel is the name of Max Blumenthal’s recent book. In in it, he cites the many cases in which the State of Israel’s representatives argue that there is no alternative to their imperfect (they concede) solution to the conflict in Israel/Palestine.

Detroit and Jerusalem are both cities that have experience multi-decade ethnic cleansing through laws and money beyond their borders and corrupt politicians in public office.

In reading Blumenthal’s Goliath one feels the resonance between the various factions of Israel’s rapidly deteriorating democracy under the trump-card notion of “national security” and the condition of US democracy. After all Israeli security and prison experts are training special units of US police forces. Israeli defense contractors test the next generation of “non-lethal” protest suppression technology on nonviolent Palestinian protesters so that it can be marked “field tested.” And US super max prison facilities increasingly resemble the prisons of Israel that warehouse thousands of young Palestinian men just as American prisons warehouse thousands of young American men of color. Shin Bet operates with the arrogance and unaccountability that has become familiar to US citizens as the trademark response of the US intelligence community to members of Congress and to public inquiry in the aftermath of the Snow den exposures and the as-yet unreleased Senate Intelligence Committee report on the US intelligence community involvement in torture. “National security” as the “shut up and sit down” command of government applies in the US as well.

Maybe I should back up and say that in my opinion Max Blumenthal’s Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel is the most important political and investigative journalist book of 2013. Required reading for the next six months. If I could capture Joe Lieberman and do to him what he wanted to to us progressives it would be to force him to read this book; his emulation of Israel in the design of the Department of Homeland Security set us on a path to disaster.

That said, the insights into the Israel-Palestine conflict that Blumenthal’s book provides are only the first part of its value. To the extent that it gets a wide reading in the US, in this respect it is the opposite bookend to the sabra triumphalism epic, Leon Uris’s Exodus (1958) and the accompanying movie (1960) with its memorable musical theme.

Andy Williams, The Exodus Song (This Land Is Mine)

The Wikipedia reference has this note about the origin of the plot for the book:

What a revoltin’ development this is!

By: TarheelDem Sunday December 8, 2013 3:53 pm

The revoltin’ developments keep coming for the Chester Rileys today and even the Jim Andersons are feeling not quite as smart as 60 years ago.

“What a revoltin’ development this is” was the catchphrase of indignation uttered by Chester A. Riley, the fictional wing riveter in the radio and TV situation comedy The Life of Riley, starring William Bendix (and for a while Jackie Gleason). Ignore for now how this portrayal of a working class male contrasts with the insurance agent Jim Anderson, the fictional hero of Father Knows Best. Both were popular in an America that saw itself as essentially classless. Also ignore the ambiguous judgement in the etymology of the “life of Riley” allusion.

The revoltin’ developments keep coming for the Chester Rileys today and even the Jim Andersons are feeling not quite as smart as 60 years ago. So much so that there is lots of discussion of revolution, or absent that, complete collapse of the US empire, the US, the Western cultural dominance, the global economic system, or the ecology of Earth itself. The sense that things can’t go on like they’ve been going on is palpable.

So what does a revolution in the context of American politics look like? Are the models of historical revolutions still relevant to the United State and its political culture?

Garry Wills writes in Henry Adams and the Making of America:

Ours is not only the world’s oldest democracy (it can even be argued that we are the world’s first real democracy) but one of the the few governments that have not been overthrown by revolution or conquest. We are standing refutation that democracies are by nature unstable.

After so many “Where are the people in the streets?” blog posts, this assertion by Wills caught my attention. First of all, I find it an oversimplification. Wills’s book itself examines Henry Adams’s history of the War of 1812 in which the government of James Madison was not saved so much by democracy as by two large oceans and the complexity of imperial competition in Europe. But the persistence of any kind of regime for 224 years is quite a long run, Egypt, China, and Rome notwithstanding. Second, the argument of the US being a real democracy is still an unfulfilled promise. But Wills seems to be arguing that the US is democratic enough to avoid instability and regime change for a long period of time, whereas dictatorial republics of the post-Enlightenment period quickly were destroyed.

Wills continues:

What is it to have this new-old thing, a “revolutionary tradition”? If it is a tradition, its should preclude or evade the need for revolution. If it is still revolutionary, it should be fundamentally be remaking itself on a continuing basis.

Wills here introduces Joseph Schumpeter’s argument that in economics capitalism is also a revolutionary tradition. Wills here is referring to Schumpeter’s Captialism, Socialism, and Democracy, which was part of a movement to distance economics and other social sciences from Marxism while still attempting to incorporate the analysis of capitalism by Marx. And follows with:

Nonetheless some of those defending the capitalist system insist that it is not only in the Constitution but in the “original intent” of the Founders. That is the seal of approval endlessly sought. We feel that we not only honor but need the Founding Fathers. Without that we become illegitimate children.

Wills goes on later:

A Cryptographic Engineer Looks at the Latest NSA Reports

By: TarheelDem Friday September 6, 2013 6:24 am
NSA Seal

A cryptographer analyzes the latest NSA revelations.

On September 5, the Guardian, the New York Times, and ProPublica reported on NSA’s programs to defeat any and all encryption.  There has been a lot of response, in particular a call from Bruce Schneier for engineers to take back the internet. Matthew Green, a cryptographer and research professor at Johns Hopkins University, has a brief overview of what the articles reported.

The gist of it is:

NSA has been doing some very bad things. At a combined cost of $250 million per year, they include:

  1. Tampering with national standards (NIST is specifically mentioned) to promote weak, or otherwise vulnerable cryptography.
  2. Influencing standards committees to weaken protocols.
  3. Working with hardware and software vendors to weaken encryption and random number generators.
  4. Attacking the encryption used by ‘the next generation of 4G phones‘.
  5. Obtaining cleartext access to ‘a major internet peer-to-peer voice and text communications system’ (Skype?)
  6. Identifying and cracking vulnerable keys.
  7. Establishing a Human Intelligence division to infiltrate the global telecommunications industry.
  8. And worst of all (to me): somehow decrypting SSL connections.

All of these programs go by different code names, but the NSA’s decryption program goes by the name ‘Bullrun’ so that’s what I’ll use here.

I said some time ago in a comment in the context of StuxNet that the world’s most cybervulnerable nation should not be running around being the first and most aggressive to use offensive cyberwarfare against the internet of things. Especially since a family’s experience with a wayward baby monitor has exposed “The Terrifying Search Engine That Finds Internet-Connected Cameras, Traffic Lights, Medical Devices, Baby Monitors And Power Plants.”

A Citizen’s Proposal: Presidential Commission on National Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism

By: TarheelDem Monday June 10, 2013 5:57 am

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and others have called for the creation of a commission like the Church Commission to investigate allegations of para-Constitutional but legal use of mass surveillance on US citizens.  The Church Commission actually had a broader mandate and so should any current commission.

This proposal seeks the most practical way to honestly and truthfully deal with allegations that have arisen against national intelligence and counter-terrorism operations of the US government.

Senator Ron Wyden, Chair
Senator Johnny Isakson
Senator Amy Klobuchar
SenatorJohn Hoeven
Rep. John Conyers
Rep. Walter Jones (NC)
Rep. Keith Ellison
Rep. Mark Amodei

The Commission shall investigate all allegations of extra-Constitutional and para-Constitutional action in US intelligence and counter-terrorism activities since the the Church Commission was impaneled.

The Commission shall consider the actions of, but not limited to, the following agencies: Office of Director of National Intelligence, Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of Homeland Security.  It shall consider the actions of employees and contractors of these agencies and the actions of any coordinating or grantee jurisdictions, including foreign nations.

The Commission shall have the power to declassify materials necessary to presentations of its work to public scrutiny or for referral to Article III federal courts.

The Commission shall have the power to subpoena any public or private individual witnesses or documents necessary for its work.  Witnesses shall be immunized or otherwise protected from retaliation by management as a result of their testimony.

The Commission shall consider allegations of abuse or corruption presented in books, media reports, testimony of whistleblowers, government investigations, or other sources and shall identify them by date, location, and agency as an index.

The Commission shall produce a declassified report to the public of its findings.

The Commission shall consider the impact upon Constitutional government of state secrecy, including secret locations, secret personnel, secret information, secret budgets, secret laws, and other departures from an open society and make recommendations for expanding an open society while fulfilling national security requirements.

The Commission shall consider the difficulties that the large numbers of clearances and the overclassification of information, particularly to avoid accountability, impose on national security.

The Commission shall consider the use of informants, the inflation of charges brought by prosecutors against suspects, and determine whether these practices have resulted in the conviction or persecution of innocent people.

The Commission shall determine whether intelligence agencies have violated the Geneva Conventions specifically or other laws of war generally in their operations and shall refer cases for proseucution under US laws.

The Commission shall be financed out of contigency funds available to national intelligence agencies at the discretion of the President.

The Commission shall have at a minimum a chief of staff, counsel, technical staff familiar with the information technologies involved. amd other employees as they shall decide.

The Commission shall have the power to put persons testifying under oath.

The Commission shall solicit the advice of experts and advocates in preparing its recommendations for legislation or reorganization of national intelligence and counter-terrorism activities.

The Commission shall ground its recommendations in arguments that explain how the Constitutional guarantees of rights in the Bill of Rights will not be violated by implementation of its recommendations.

American Tradition Speaks This Memorial Day — Thoreau and Lowell

By: TarheelDem Monday May 27, 2013 4:50 am

There are several dates for Confederate Memorial Day. The April 26 date celebrates the surrender of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston at Bennett Place near Durham, which effectively ended to war. The May 10 date, the surrender of Jefferson Davis or the death of Stonewall Jackson in 1863.  As a Southerner, I cannot help but notice the romantic and sentimental celebration of “Lost” in these memorials of “The Lost Cause”.  In contrast to the triumphalistic Northern Memorial Day prior to World War I.

Memorial Day Flags

Memorial Day Flags

In all, Memorial Days are remembrances of the failure of politics that war is, and the human consequences of such failure. And celebrations of obedience to the nation states that sent these men and women to war. All colored with patriotism and flag-waving and bunting and crass commercialism and escape.

All wars have been a “rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight” as the Northern draft riots in 1863 pointed out. Hundreds of thousands of poor Southerners who had no slaves nor any prospect of creating a plantation even if the entire continent comprised slave states, fought because they thought they had prospects or simply because they were drafted or were paid to go in the place of a rich man’s son or a rich man himself.

On Memorial Day we should remember that the post-traumatic stress syndrome of one war can be the cause of the next. Or the insane notion that males in our society have to “prove their manhood” in war. As if peacetime never demands courage, quick thinking, diligence, and persistence–the supposed marks of the military that go by the name of “discipline”.

The nation that celebrates absolute individual freedom also lionizes the the one institution in society in which obedience is absolute, the protections of the Bill of Rights don’t exist, and is the only legitimate (in the eyes of conservatives) employer of last resort. It is the one indispensable government institution, and thus socialist at its core. And no one finds this strange.

No one finds it strange because it is an institution in which your life depends on people you don’t necessarily choose to be with or don’t necessarily like but whom you trust to defend your life in battle as they trust you to defend theirs. And who you mourn when you hear of their falling. That bond captured in the phrase “band of brothers”.

They do need honor on this day, but also do the folks who sacrificed careers, spent time in jail, were beaten, or were killed for saying not only that “War is nonsense” but that “This war is nonsense.” As best we know, Henry Thoreau was one of the first. The Mexican War was the first with an anti-war movement.

James Russell Lowell was another of those critics of the Mexican War. The last stanza of his anti-slavery poem “The Crisis” (which forms the basis of the hymn “Once to Every Man and Nation”) is apropos for this Memorial Day.

New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth;
They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth;
Lo, before us gleam her campfires? We ourselves must Pilgrims be,
Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the desperate winter sea,
Nor attempt the Future’s portal with the Past’s blood-rusted key.

NATO 3 Trial Scheduled for September

By: TarheelDem Tuesday May 7, 2013 2:57 pm


The Jail Support Group for the NATO 5 is raising money for the upcoming trial in September of folks arrested with me in the raid on May 19, 2012.     It seems that the either through design or intent the trial will begin on a day close to the second anniversary of the beginning of Occupy Wall Street.

Here is their call to action:

International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5
May 16–21, 2013

We are calling on comrades around the world to help raise awareness of the NATO 5 cases and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests. solidaritysmall

On May 16, 2012, Chicago cops raided an apartment in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago in an all-too-common attempt to scare people away from the imminent protests against the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit. With guns drawn, the cops arrested 11 people in or around the apartment and quickly disappeared them into the bowels of the extensive network of detention facilities in Cook County, Illinois.

After a few days, a few things started becoming clear: 2 of the arrested “activists” were actually undercover Chicago cops who had targeted the real activists for arrest, 6 of them were illegally held and released at the last possible minute before court action could be taken to force their release, and 3 had been charged with trumped-up, politically motivated terrorism charges. These three—Brent Betterly, Brian Jacob Church, Jared Chase—are now known as the NATO 3. They were ultimately charged with 11 felony counts, including material support for terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism, and creating Molotov cocktails. They face up to 40 years in prison and are expected to go to trial in September. Their lawyers recently filed a motion to dismiss the terrorism charges for being unconstitutional.

Two other Chicago-area activists—Mark Neiweem and Sebastian Senakiewicz—were also preemptively arrested. Mark was arrested in a spectacular snatch-and-grab as he was leaving a restaurant. He was charged with soliciting materials for an explosive device, which carried up to 30 years in prison, and probation violation for a previous felony conviction. In April 2013, he accepted a non-cooperating plea deal to the probation violation charge and to solicitation and attempted possession of an explosive or incendiary device. He was sentenced to a 3-year sentence in a state prison. Sebastian was arrested in another spectacular house raid and charged with falsely making a terrorist threat for allegedly claiming that he had explosive materials and wanted to use them during the convention. Facing 15 years in prison followed by deportation to his native Poland after serving his sentence, he took a non-cooperating plea deal last November. He was sentenced to 4 years with a recommendation of 4 months in boot camp, which he began serving in late March 2013. He is expected to begin his immigration proceedings immediately after completing boot camp.

As the one-year anniversary of these preemptive, politically motivated arrests draws near, we are calling for a week of solidarity actions and fundraisers for the NATO 5. All five defendants have been incarcerated since their arrests last May. Being held hostage in jail is extremely expensive for prisoners, as they are forced to purchase all their hygiene products, writing supplies, additional food to supplement the starvation portions given to them each day, and other basic necessities from the jail’s commissary at exorbitant prices. The legal defense costs for the defendants is also mounting, as their lawyers are working hard to help them win their freedom and there is a ton of evidence to sift through and other preparations to make.

This May, stand in solidarity with the NATO 5! Organize a house party, bake sale, silent auction, cabaret, raffle, rally, noise demo, art auction, street theater performance, concert…whatever you and your friends want! You can also write the defendants to let them know what you have planned (https://nato5support.wordpress.com/contact/).

The NATO 5 cases are linked by a few common threads. People around the world have come together to protest NATO’s role in worldwide military expenditures and operations, the organization’s penchant for wantonly killing civilians for the benefit of its member nations—particularly the United States—and its disregard for human rights. Additionally, undercover Chicago police officers targeted and entrapped the activists because of their politics, which is part of a broader pattern of state repression against political activists, in which charging activists as terrorists is one of many strategies being used to silence dissent and dismantle activist communities. Other recent cases in which activists have been targeted include the Cleveland 4 (http://www.cleveland4solidarity.org/), the Green Scare cases (http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/), and the Pacific Northwest Grand Jury resisters (http://nopoliticalrepression.wordpress.com/).

Many of these prisoners need your financial support and solidarity as well. The Pacific Northwest Grand Jury resisters are calling for a week of solidarity actions from April 24–May 1 (http://saynothing.noblogs.org/call-for-coordinated-week-of-solidarity-actions/) and the Tinley Park 5 are calling for a day of solidarity on May 19 (http://www.anarchistnews.org/content/one-year-anniversary-arrest-tp5). And don’t forget about June 11th, the International Day of Solidarity with long-term anarchist prisoners Eric McDavid and Marie Mason (http://june11.org/).

Make this spring and summer a time of solidarity for the NATO 5 and all targets of state repression!