Amy Kaper promises she is not a gang member. The 29-year-old graduate student does not run drugs, traffic guns, or work in any organized crime ring. But, she did protest police violence last year. For that, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and the Phoenix Police Department are aggressively prosecuting Kaper — and a group of 17 other defendants, including three minors — for being part of a criminal street gang following an October 17 protest in downtown Phoenix. In fact, officers and prosecutors allege the group is as dangerous — and in some ways more dangerous — than notorious gangs like the Crips, Bloods, and Hells Angels.
Grand Jury Abuse
November 8, 2020 would have been Aaron’s 34th birthday, but instead we mourn our friend and wonder what could have been, had he not taken his own life seven years ago after being terrorized by a career-driven prosecutor and U.S. Attorney who decided to just make shit up, make an example out of Aaron, impress their bosses and further their own careers. As it turns out though, Aaron’s downloading wasn’t even illegal, as he was a Harvard Ethics Fellow at the time and Harvard and MIT had contractual agreements allowing Aaron to access those materials en masse. But all this didn’t come to light until it was too late. Aaron was careful not to tell his friends too much about his case for fear he would involve them in the quagmire.
At 3:00 pm, Wednesday, August 19th, Jesse Shackelford, 28, was taken into federal custody at the Dane County Jail and joined a long history of grand jury resisters. He claimed his Fifth Amendment right to silence in order to protect himself and his community and in a strong stand against both this grand jury in particular and the grand jury process as an oppressive, movement-busting tactic. For refusing to testify in front of a grand jury targeting the Black liberation struggle and uprisings in Madison, Jesse was charged with civil contempt and put in a cage: he is currently being held in solitary confinement. This was his second call to the federal grand jury convened by US Attorney Scott Blader this summer. It is FFLS’ understanding that Jesse is the first grand jury resister nationally to be incarcerated in contempt as a result of the 2020 Black liberation uprisings.
Alexandria - Today, March 12, prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia ended the grand jury of Julian Assange and Wikileaks in which Chelsea Manning refused to testify. As a result, US District Court Judge Anthony Trenga ordered the immediate release of Chelsea Manning. Manning has been incarcerated since May 2019. Judge Trenga had tried to coerce Manning into testifying by imposing a fine for every day she resisted even though she said repeatedly that she would not violate her principles, which include opposition to the secret grand jury system, and would never testify. A hearing was scheduled this Friday on a motion for release filed in February 2020 by her attorneys. Manning was arguing that her long time in jail had shown she could not be coerced to testify and that her incarceration was a punishment, which is illegal under US law.
Whistleblower and political prisoner Chelsea Manning has now been confined to a federal detention center in Alexandria, Virginia for more than four months and is being subjected to punitive fines which could ruin her fin Manning is not being punished for any crime, nor has she been charged with a crime. Rather, she is being held in contempt of court for refusing—on principle and courageously—to testify before a star chamber grand jury impaneled to railroad journalist and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange into a US prison, or worse.
In a move press freedom advocates and progressive critics decried as an “outrageous” and “unprecedented” escalation of a prolonged government harassment campaign, a federal judge on Thursday ordered U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning back to jail for refusing to testify before a secretive grand jury and imposed a $500 fine for every day she is in custody after 30 days. If Manning refuses to comply with the grand jury subpoena after 60 days, the fine will increase to $1,000 per day. During a court hearing on Thursday, Manning told Judge Anthony Trenga that she has no intention of giving in to government pressure.
After 28 days of incarceration, United States Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning has been released from solitary confinement and moved into the general population unit of the Truesdale Detention Center in Northern Virginia. Manning refused to answer questions before a grand jury about her 2010 leak of hundreds of thousands of State Department and Pentagon documents about the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to WikiLeaks.