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  • robalini@aol.com
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com Thu, 3 Aug 2000 Bob Lederer
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 4, 2000
      Please send as far and wide as possible.


      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist

      Thu, 3 Aug 2000
      Bob Lederer <bobl@...>


      4 stories: The repression and demonization heightens....

      from www.phillyimc.org
      August 3, 2000 5 p.m.

      John Sellers' Bail Set at $1 million
      Submitted by Josie Foo

      Saying that he believed John Sellers, the director of Ruckus Society,
      presents a risk to the community at large, to police officers, and to the
      citizens of Philadelphia, bail commissioner Jim O'Brien set bail at $1

      Sellers, who was arrested empty-handed while walking down a street outside
      the Police Administration building, is charged with conspiracy, possession
      of an instrument of crime, reckless endangerment, and a litany of

      The district attorney, Cindy Mertelli, asked for the million dollar bond.
      She characterized Sellers as a menace with a multi-state arrest record,
      although she was unable to be specific about those arrests. Sellers, she
      said, had "contacts in Florida where (Ruckus') training camp is, preparing
      for mayhem and violence."

      She produced a 27 page "dossier" on Sellers listing Sellers' fundraising
      activities and called him an "immense" risk of flight and a real risk of
      danger to the community, in light of the large amounts of money he has
      access to and his contacts throughout the states."

      She said that Sellers had made provocative statements in some newspaper
      articles and had been "involved in Seattle, a situation with almost dead

      Although none of the charges levied at Sellers are for violence, she said
      that Sellers "sets the stage to facilitate the more radical elements and
      intends to do the same in L.A."

      Sellers, speaking from his cell at a police precinct via television hookup
      to the court, said he was a person of conscience whose prior arrests have
      been for non-violent action, and that he has never
      shirked court dates.

      He said the few articles cited by Mertelli was disnigenuous, and he could
      cite numerous articles, in the Wall Street Journal, Time magazine, and
      others, about Ruckus conducting its non-violent direct action
      training camp in Arcadia, Florida.

      He said, "We are an incredibly transparent group, we even gave the police
      our website. We have nothing to hide."

      "Even my parents," he said," are proud of me."

      Sellers' attorney, Lawrence Krasner, also addressed the bail hearing by
      phone. He called the district attorney's statement nothing more than a
      "political diatribe" that misunderstood the nature of non-violent civil
      disobedience. He asked O'Brien not to allow Mertelli to politicize the
      process and to set bail within the guidelines.

      Krasner said that Mertelli's comments were "outrageous." All Sellers had
      allegedly done, he said, was hand a banner from a crane. He had not worn a
      mask, and had not kicked in any windows."

      He said Sellers was "a national figure that should be given reasonable bail
      as there is no indication he will not show up."

      Mertelli pointed out that Ruckus' website mentioned some instances of
      violence, at which Krasner replied that Martin Luther King Jr. often
      mentioned violent episodes involving dogs biting humans, at which a
      surreal exchange ensued between Krasner, O'Brien, and Mertelli.

      O'Brien, obviously partisan, argued that news groups like NBC do not
      participate in the violence they cover, and he asked Mertelli to confirm
      that no news groups had been arrested. Mertelli readily
      confirmed this.

      O'Brien admitted that in his 10 years of serving as a bail commissioner, he
      had never been asked to set bail for arrests of civil disobedience and
      hoped he never would again. He then set bail at $1 million, saying, "I
      believe that the close co-ordination of all events and their close timing
      indicates a synchronization" of incidents, and that Sellers "presents a
      risk to the community at large, to police officers, and to Philadelphia's

      Krasner then asked that the public defender, Bill Deeley, be appointed to
      appeal the bail to the emergency judge, but his request was denied on the
      basis that there are "probably" other defendents arrested on the same
      charge, although there were no co-defenders listed on the same arrest (DC)
      number. Krasner then tried to waive any conflict, but O'Brien refused to
      allow it.

      Throughout the hearing, Sellers leaned on his hand and appeared at times
      intently listening, and at other times distraught.

      Krasner said he would come in personally to appeal the bail and O'Brien
      said that, although his own shift ended at 3:30 p.m., he would be present
      to make his own argument to the emergency judge.

      At 4:50 p.m., following argument, the emergency judge affirmed the $1
      million bail. At 5:10 p.m. news sources including CBS News was reporting
      that the police had pinpointed the "ringleaders" of August 1 indicents and
      had been stalking them throughout the day. John Sellers was identified as
      one of the ringleaders that were stalked.

      Ruckus Society is holding a press conference at 7 p.m. at the William Way
      Center at 1315 Spruce Street, at 7 p.m. today (August 3, 2000).



      Thursday August 3 3:37 PM ET
      Police Chief Wants Feds to Investigate Protest Movement

      By David Morgan

      PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Philadelphia's police chief said on Thursday
      federal authorities should investigate a coalition of activist groups that
      have targeted two political conventions, the World Trade Organization and
      the World Bank for mass protests.

      At the same time, defense lawyers for hundreds of protesters jailed this
      week in Philadelphia claimed that city officials were keeping their clients
      behind bars illegally by setting bail at exorbitant levels for relatively
      minor charges.

      On Tuesday, thousands of protesters tried but failed to bring the host city
      of the Republican National Convention to a standstill by blocking
      intersections in several spots downtown during their only act of mass civil

      Police won accolades from city leaders for thwarting the demonstrations and
      making hundreds of arrests without provoking the violence seen last year
      during the WTO meeting in Seattle.

      Protesters appeared to have called off ``direct action'' campaigns planned
      for Wednesday and Thursday, saying they would instead concentrate on
      solidarity rallies for jailed comrades.

      Police Commissioner John Timoney said the groups that organized the Seattle
      protests and demonstrations outside the World Bank in Washington last April
      were responsible for sporadic scenes of violence in Philadelphia.

      Planned For Los Angeles

      A similar coalition plans to demonstrate later this month in Los Angeles
      during the Democratic National Convention.

      ``I intend on raising this issue with federal authorities,'' he told
      reporters at a news conference without naming specific organizations.

      ``Somebody's got to look into these groups,'' he said. ``I don't think you
      should have people out there who are going to hang around and plan to come
      into a different city time after time to assault police officers, engage in
      serious property damage and destruction. That ain't cricket.''

      Fifteen Philadelphia officers were injured on Tuesday in scuffles with
      protesters. More than 20 police cruisers were vandalized by marauding bands
      who also overturned dumpsters, smashed windows and sprayed graffiti on
      downtown buildings.

      All told, 369 people were arrested, including 19 who were charged with
      felony offenses including assault.

      Among those in custody were several alleged protest leaders, including the
      head of the Ruckus Society, a Berkeley, California-based group that trains
      activists in nonviolent civil disobedience.

      ``We know they had a list of things they were going to do, and they set
      about doing it. That, to me, is kind of troubling,'' said Timoney, who
      deflected claims that some protest leaders were arrested while walking the
      street with cellular phones.

      ``I've been assured that we have probable cause to make those arrests,'' he
      said. ``There are no preemptive strikes. We're locking people up who we
      think we can prove were engaged in criminal activity.''

      Lawyers Have Different Version

      Civil rights lawyers had a different version of events.

      ``What we are seeing in Philadelphia is a civil rights catastrophe of the
      first order,'' said New York-based civil rights attorney Ron McGuire.

      He said the city was imposing bail of more than $15,000 in cases that
      would ordinarily merit only a couple hundred dollars, in an apparent bid to
      keep protesters in jail until after the Republican convention had ended.

      ``I cannot imagine a reason for these levels other than deliberate and
      unconstitutional detention,'' McGuire said.

      Police confirmed bail had been set at $50,000 for one suspect charged with
      misdemeanor offenses.

      The American Civil Liberties Union also expressed concern about conspiracy
      charges brought against 80 people found in a West Philadelphia warehouse
      that police raided on Tuesday, saying it contained material which could
      make crowd control more difficult and more dangerous.

      ``The charges are questionable. What we have basically are people who were
      in the wrong place at the wrong time,'' said Larry Frankel, executive
      director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. ''We have a lot of concerns here about
      situations that might be called preemptive.''

      Many jailed protesters were refusing to give police their names or
      personal details in an act of jail solidarity. Protest organizers also said
      140 had joined a hunger strike to protest conditions. Organizers also held
      a news conference with protesters who claimed to have suffered police
      brutality while behind bars.


      Thursday August 3 1:00 AM ET
      Tensions Cool in Philadelphia Streets

      Reuters Photo

      By Andy Sullivan

      PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Protests on the fringes of the Republican National
      Convention turned peaceful as the city recovered from Tuesday's clashes
      that tied up traffic across downtown and led to hundreds of arrests.

      Police said they arrested 50 people on Wednesday, adding few details except
      to say the arrests were scattered across various locations through the city
      of about 1.4 million people. The police said there were 290 arrests on
      Tuesday, down from their earlier estimate of about 350.

      On Wednesday, about 400 activists in a park across from the city jail
      demanded the release of those in police custody, while demonstrators
      picketed a downtown bank and a gathering of anti-abortion Republicans. A
      separate march called for women's rights.

      The subdued tone of the day's events contrasted with that of Tuesday, when
      activists blocked downtown intersections, injuring at least 15 police
      officers and vandalizing 28 police and city vehicles.

      Police largely succeeded in keeping the situation from becoming as chaotic
      as that seen at trade talks in Seattle last year when protesters brought
      that city to a standstill.

      ``They were folks who came here hell-bent on causing disruption,'' Police
      Commissioner John Timoney said. ``The Philadelphia Police Department is in
      control of the situation. Make no mistake about that.''

      Most arrested were not cooperating with police and did not give their names
      -- something likely to keep them behind bars until after the convention
      ends on Thursday, Timoney said.

      An activist with the organization that planned much of the civil
      disobedience said police arrested many of the organization's key members
      early on Tuesday before they took to the streets, contributing to the day's

      ``We did everything within our power to organize a day of nonviolence, and
      what happened instead was that our organizers and our peacekeepers were
      taken off the streets,'' said Amy Kwasnicki with the Philadelphia Direct
      Action Group.

      Scattered Protests

      Some activists picketed outside Citigroup on Wednesday morning, calling it
      the world's most destructive bank. John Sellers, head of the Ruckus
      Society, a group that schools activists in the art of civil disobedience,
      was arrested at that event. Police had no immediate comment on his arrest,
      while supporters said he was only observing the peaceful event.


      Marpessa Kupendua <nattyreb@...>
      Tuesday, August 01, 2000

      MOVE Member Arrested At Protest

      end quote JOHN AFRICA

      In a day dedicated to protesting the so-called "justice system" over 200
      protesters were arrested, some were actively participating in civil
      disobedience while others were targeted and arrested for doing nothing more
      than speaking out.

      Mike Africa Jr. was one of those targeted. While at the large protest for
      Mumia Abu-Jamal today at Philadelphia's city hall, Africa along with a number
      of others were swept up when police attacked the demonstrators. Later on
      this evening Mike was released after authorities were confronted by other
      MOVE members. Many others arrested are still in custody at Holmsberg
      prison outside of Philadelphia.

      Mike Africa's arrest shows once again the pattern of harrasment that this
      system has used in order to attempt to intimidate MOVE members. The very
      same rotten system that locked up Mike today is the same one that locked up
      both his parents and seven other MOVE members on Aug 8th 1978. It is the
      same system that framed Mumia Abu-Jamal in 1981, and that bombed innocent
      MOVE men, women, and children on May 13th 1985.

      All people need to speak out against this flagrant injustice. Demand freedom
      for Mumia, the MOVE 9, Leonard Peltier, all political prisoners, and for
      those arrested while protesting the Republican convention here in

      end quote JOHN AFRICA

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