An Open Letter to Judge Jones & Jenny Durkan, esq.

Blackbird Singing

TO: Hon. Richard A. Jones, Seattle fed. district court judge – (206)370-8870
Jenny Durkan, esq., Seattle fed. prosecutor – (800)797-6722; (206)553-0882

RE: federal Grand Jury Resisters Leah-Lynn Plante, Matt Duran, Kteeo, Matthew Pfeiffer


It’s been said (the Greeks) even the gods can’t protect fools from their folly. But the real question today is whether they can protect US? Or can we protect ourselves from said fools? Very few Americans condone street violence, be it on May Day or any other day. Even Leah-Lynn Plante publicly says as much. Yet the vast majority of our countrymen also know and fully support 1st Amendment principles. So why are you confusing Americans by conflating the two?

Leah and Dennison Williams

These kids (the Grand Jury resisters) are kicking your sorry ass! They’re far better looking than you, idealists, principled, and do more to protect their community than you. They inspire the question whether the dissimilarity between corruption and incompetence is ultimately a distinction without a difference–particularly in your case. Each of you has proven lazy, incompetent, and disdainful of the very laws you’re sworn to uphold. Your qualified/absolute immunity in your non-elective offices from legal process holding you accountable only adds to the public’s frustration. Was it Franklin who said, “The monarchists will hide in the judiciary”?

Courage in Motion

Instead of doing the heavy often tedious time consuming job of investigation and intelligence gathering, Jenny Durkan has resorted to judicial theater by subpoenaing youthful resisters in the absence of having something/evidence with which to indict–a flagrant abuse of the intended use of federal Grand Juries unknown before the Nixon administration. It’s difficult to imagine a lazier more lackluster discharge of duty by a federal prosecutor with such powerful tools/resources within reach…or a greater loss of credibility. Are you trying to establish flagrant and egregious public vandalism as a cause celeb?…because you’re doing a pretty fair job of it. You’ve created martyrs of your own invention.

Matthew Kyle Duran

Then there’s federal judge Richard Jones who is supposed to know something about the law and the community. One would think he has read the 6th Amendment–a paradox considering how he closed Matthew Duran’s contempt proceedings to the public. Not only was imprisoning these defiant youthful Grand Jury resisters stupid, Mr. Duran had his civil rights (a public/open hearing at each step of the legal process where he is at risk of losing his liberty) violated. Though there’s no evidence Matt has violated anybody’s rights, he’s in a federal prison while the judge who DID egregiously violate another’s rights (Matt’s) remains on the bench. The primary function of a judge is to do justice by all the parties. That wasn’t done here. Nor was the process ‘fair’, nor did it have the appearance of fairness. A secret Grand Jury inquisition was held without representation leading to another closed hearing in which Matt was delivered to a dungeon/isolation cell at the SeaTac federal detention center.

The two of you took an admittedly mentally/emotionally challenged vulnerable young woman in an attempt to crush her spirit and sent her to the SeaTac gulag. She was candid enough to admit the experience exacerbated her panic attacks and PTSD symptoms. Your children must be proud. What great Americans you are. Despite her public disavowal of the Seattle May Day street violence, you persisted rather than getting off your butts and doing the hard work of bringing the actual perpetrators to justice. Sometimes the proper investigatory techniques take years, such as the ALF/ELF prosecutions. The two of you have done more harm to the security Americans have a right to expect than the Anarchist radicals could ever hope for. You have advanced their cause in ways they could never hope to on their own. You’ve accomplished this by transparently affirming their claim our system of government has been hijacked by tyrants and incompetent boobs. Incredibly, you’ve made our justice system look WORSE than the images of the May Day vandals smashing windows in Seattle.

Leah’s Supporters















A friend (ex-prosecuting attorney) once said it takes more than graduating from a law school and passing the bar to make a lawyer. You have more than proven his point.

Leah Speaks Out

Let our children go! You owe them an apology.

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6 Responses to An Open Letter to Judge Jones & Jenny Durkan, esq.

  1. admin says:

    After a fruitless 10-31-12 PACER search of the federal court records, a Seattle federal court clerk who’d only call himself ‘Jim’ opined *all* records relating to the Grand Jury resisters were sealed. He was too obtuse to acknowledge only the Grand Jury chambers proceedings were ‘confidential’. The contempt proceedings in federal Judge Richard Jones’ courtroom were not. He suggested calling the Judge’s chambers or the U.S. Attorney.

    A receptionist who’d only admit to ‘Juanita’ demanded full name, rank, serial number, title, company name, and details about the purpose of the call. She wouldn’t take no for an answer. Eventually she transferred the call to Emily Langlie, the U.S. Attorney’s public affairs officer.

    Langlie claimed Judge Jones had sealed the records related to the Grand Jury resisters’ contempt proceedings, demurring her office’s hands were tied pursuant to the judge’s orders. Langlie was brusk, but revealed she’d been a TV reporter for 24 years. She sounded sophisticated, up to a point. e.g. She pointed to Judge Lasnik’s 2004 directive regarding photographing the security checkpoint at the entrance to the Seattle federal courthouse, but she seemed ignorant of the much more recent stipulated agreement with the ACLU and DHS (Dept. of Homeland Security) stating it was not illegal to film/photography ANY federal building (excepting military installations). Ms. Langlie suggested the matter be taken up with Judge Jones’ staff.

    A call to Jones’ chambers was answered by a more attentive woman who would/could not provide a cause # for the case(s) at issue. Neither would she confirm or deny Judge Jones had ordered the records for the contempt proceedings sealed. A call to Jenn Kaplan, esq. revealed other reporters had been similarly stonewalled. Her research had produced a federal precedent requiring contempt proceedings be public–a thorny contradiction to Jones denying public access to the contempt proceedings held in his courtroom (at least in Matt Duran’s case) or even that floor of the building. She stated the other defense attorneys involved with the Grand Jury resisters were aware of the conflict.

    It would seem too little attention has been paid to Constitutional mandates too late. And the question of whether the system can be forced to follow its own rules remains an open one that continues to put the public at risk. Hopefully the reach of the passionate young attorneys defending the Grand Jury resisters does not exceed their grasp.

  2. admin says:

    Leah’s official quote on seeing the internet’s response for the first time after being released:

    “I went against the advice of several people and did what one should never do, I read the comments. I read the comments on support pages, articles, and photos. While a lot of the messages were wonderful, so many of them were about how attractive or unattractive the commentator thought I was. They thought that because my face is all over the internet, they had the right to dehumanize me and reduce me to an object, just like the fucking state did.

    I am not number #42611-086 and I am not a number on your 0-10 scale of hot or not. They thought I would enjoy the attention if I knew about it. I am glad that many came to my defense and confronted the blatant misogyny, however it was mostly met with ‘stop being so serious.’

    Someone went to the extent to Photoshop my tattoos from photos in order to make me appeal more to the mainstream. I will say now, and let me be clear: I do not care what anyone on this planet thinks about how I look. I do not appreciate comments about my appearance. I do not want your compliments. I do not owe anyone a curtsy, a sweet smile and a ‘thank you so much.’ I do not have to be gracious about it, I do not owe respect to those who do not show respect to me.

    I also saw how people made a lot of casual references to me getting sexually assaulted. This is extremely disrespectful, especially because that is something I have dealt with too many times in my life as is. I am more than a face, a body, a (former)prisoner, a number. To anyone who reduces me to those things: you are my enemy, not my ally, you are not my friend, not my comrade, not my supporter and I do not appreciate you.

    I have despised sexism/misogyny my entire life and I have confronted it at every opportunity, as I am doing right now. If you support someone for something they do, just say that. What you think about their appearance is irrelevant. Keep your opinion to yourself because if you are furthering one kind of oppression while trying to fight another, you aren’t actually accomplishing anything.”

  3. admin says:

    What life is like in solitary confinement at North Carolina’s Central Prison
    NOVEMBER 1, 2012
    by Billy Ball

    An excerpt from Central Prison inmate Chris McBride’s letter to Indy Week, dated July 4, 2012:

    “Solitary confinement is hell. I agree with the public—it is a form of torture. It is a tiny cell about 6 feet by 8 feet. It has a steel toilet, with a sink built in the top. There is a steel bed, with an extremely thin mattress. There is a small shelf to put your things, and a very small little desk hanging off the wall, but no chair. There is a window, that is about 5 inches wide and about 4 feet tall, but you can’t see out of it. It’s fog/clouded glass. Plus it’s covered by steel with little holes in it. The door window is the same. The light stays on 24 hours a day. At 11 p.m.–6 a.m., a smaller light comes on but it’s still bright.

    “We are in this cell 23 hours a day. We are allowed to come out for recreation five times a week for one hour. The rec is a cage. They just stick us in a little cage and we can walk around. That’s it. We are only allowed to take three showers a week. Only three! And we can only take 5 minutes. If we are lucky, we get 10 minutes.

    “So if you add up five 1-hour recs, and three 10-minute showers, that’s 5½ hours. Let’s round that up to 6 hours. There’s your answer. Out of the 168 hours in a week, we are out of our cell 6 hours. If that ain’t a form of torture, I don’t know what is.”

    On Dec. 16, 2011, the prisoners stopped working.

    As Chris McBride, Inmate No. 0644099 at Central Prison in Raleigh, puts it, the hours were too long. The prisoners worked in the kitchen for 10-hour shifts, seven days a week, without breaks. They were paid between 70 cents and $1 per day.

    Fifteen inmates at the Raleigh institution refused to return to work, McBride writes in a letter to the Indy. But when correctional officers were called in, roughly half of them changed their mind.

    “Only eight inmates stood strong and demanded answers,” says McBride, who is from Chapel Hill.

    Promised better hours, they returned to their kitchen duties, but within 15 minutes, correctional officers rounded up the eight.

    “Even though we had went back to work without incident,” he says. “No force was used, no mace was sprayed. We went. No problem.”

    Charged with disobeying orders, the eight were assigned to intensive control, or ICON, as North Carolina prison officials call it—for at least six months.

    ICON is a prison within a prison—long-term solitary confinement by another name. Locked away for 23 hours each day, ICON inmates have little contact with others, and their visitation is limited. ICON inmates may not use the telephone.

    McBride’s first six months in ICON were up in July, but officials opted to keep the 31-year-old in ICON for another half year, until January 2013.

    In North Carolina, 37 inmates served more than six months in ICON in the 2011–2012 fiscal year, according to state Department of Corrections figures. As of Oct. 20, 850 inmates, or about 2.2 percent of the state’s general prison population, were sequestered in ICON—twice the national average.

    Yet statistics offer only a snapshot of the number of inmates in solitary confinement on any given day. Prisoners enter and leave. No national registry of inmates in solitary exists, in part because prisons vary in their definition of what is commonly known in prison-speak as “administrative segregation.”

    Nonetheless, the United Nations estimates that 25,000 inmates are in solitary confinement in the U.S.—many in “supermax” prisons built specifically for that purpose. That’s equivalent to about 1 percent of the 2.2 million adults incarcerated in 2010, according to U.S. Bureau of Justice figures.

    That number may be an understatement.

    The most recent nationwide count dates back to 2005, when a Bureau of Justice census found more than 81,622 inmates in “restricted housing” in state and federal facilities. But that may not include strict interpretations of isolation because many segregated prisoners are housed two to a cell, according to federal Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Traci Billingsley.

    Critics contend this type of punishment is brutal, psychological torture. It’s also expensive, in some cases costing nearly three times more per inmate than for a prisoner in general population. And few believe the practice offers real rehabilitation for hardened criminals.

    The rise of solitary confinement has led some U.S. and world leaders, including Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., to demand reforms to a practice they deem inhumane. Last year, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez called for countries to ban the practice.

    “Solitary confinement is a harsh measure which is contrary to rehabilitation, the aim of the penitentiary system,” Mendez said.

    Buts its defenders, including North Carolina prison officials, claim solitary confinement is necessary to control a growing prison population and to protect guards and workers from the worst of the worst.

    “If the officers are mad at you, they spit in your food. They lose or throw away your mail, amongst other things. And that’s only the beginning. The cells are filthy. We hardly ever get to clean them, and when we do, we only get to sweep and mop. No toilet brush or nothing. Then the medical is ridiculous. An inmate can die in solitary and wouldn’t be found for hours because no one even comes by and checks on us. If we ask to see a nurse, we are ignored. I have seen inmates have seizures, faint, as well as try to kill themselves, and the officers pay no attention. Then if the inmate tells on the officers, they jump on him and beat him. Normal rules don’t apply to solitary. They are supposed to, but they don’t.”

    McBride’s extensive criminal record includes convictions for embezzlement, assault on a female, felony breaking and entering, larceny, drug manufacturing, child abuse, resisting an officer and more. “I don’t make excuses. I am who I am,” he writes.

    McBride contends he was abandoned by family when he was young. Growing up in foster homes, he says he was abused through his childhood and into early adulthood.

    “I just want you and the public to understand that everyone isn’t afforded the advantages and privileges others are,” he writes. “Unfortunately, I didn’t start caring until it was [too] late. Now, I can’t outrun my record, and no matter what I do, I am judged by it.”

    For his repeated crimes, McBride was convicted as a habitual felon in Orange County in December 2010 and received a 28-year sentence.

    His time in Central Prison has been tumultuous. Since June 2011, he has received six infractions for breaking prison rules, including property theft, fighting and disobeying orders. McBride says those infractions include the alleged theft of a peanut butter packet and a hot dog, as well as engaging in a “Chow Hall” scuffle with another inmate.

    Fighting, property damage, drug or weapon possession and attempted escape: These offenses can land an inmate in six months of ICON. Officials refuse to discuss individual cases, but Jennie Lancaster, chief deputy secretary for the N.C. Department of Public Safety’s Division of Adult Correction, says prison officials can judge an inmate’s offense severe enough to compel a second six-month stint in ICON. There is no limit on the amount of time an inmate can spend in ICON.

    McBride’s lengthy criminal record and his history of clashes with prison administration, including the kitchen protest, could have prompted officials to keep him in solitary.

    Lancaster declines to talk about McBride, although Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Pam Walker calls his account of 10-hour kitchen shifts “seriously embellished.” Walker says the protest happened three days after Warden Ken Lassiter, who assumed his post last year after the controversial resignation of the previous warden, ordered kitchen workers to remain in the food service area for their entire eight-hour shift unless they had permission to leave. The policy was enacted because there had been incidents in which inmates ducked work and wandered into unauthorized areas of the prison.

    Lancaster says that, in general, prisoners recommended for ICON can respond to the allegations against them. If they are found mentally unable to comprehend their case, they are assigned a mental health professional to represent them before the committee.

    ICON hearings are not public, and inmates are not allowed to have an attorney present.

    Following the kitchen protest, McBride appeared before a panel of three prison officials, which typically includes correctional officers and supervisors.

    McBride writes that he pled guilty to his infractions after a prison officer told him that he could not win his case. The warden intended to make an example of him, he says.

    Lancaster says she understands the arguments against solitary confinement, but she calls it a “common sense” answer. Some inmates show a “chronic inability to conform or get along in the general population,” she says. “We have to have rules and policies within the prison that keep everybody safe, that keep a stable environment for all the inmates and the staff,” she says.

    However, the safety of some Central Prison inmates was questioned in an Associated Press article last year, after the N.C. Department of Corrections issued a blistering report in June 2011 stating that inmates with mental illnesses were sometimes isolated for weeks or found alone in cells splattered with human waste. Central Prison Warden Gerald Branker resigned after the report was released. Prison officials blamed media exaggeration for the scandal.

    State leaders promised reform at Central Prison after Gov. Bev Perdue deemed the report’s findings “unacceptable.” And in July 2012, at least nine prisoners began a hunger strike to protest the conditions at Central Prison. The hunger strike has ended, Walker said.

    Lancaster said state corrections officials have implemented a pilot program to help ICON inmates assimilate into the general prison population and to address the negative impacts of long-term isolation.

    “We want safer, more secure prisons,” she said. “But on the other hand, if it’s a fact that [ICON] indeed does cause adverse effects, we need to understand that.”

    Lancaster bristles at claims that ICON and solitary confinement are inhumane and unnecessary. ICON inmates do have exercise and shower hours scheduled each week, Lancaster points out, and a nurse checks in on prisoners every day. Chaplains also make the rounds.

    “I’d be glad to have them spend a couple of days in a prison to see what it’s like,” she says to the critics.

    Corrections officials denied an Indy request to interview McBride in person, so we corresponded via handwritten letters. Administrators also denied our requests to visit a solitary cell and interview an ICON prisoner in person.

    Anthony Graves is upbeat. He’s friendly, quick to return a phone call and gracious with his time.

    Graves would know about time: He spent 18 years in prison in Texas, at least a decade in solitary confinement. In Texas, all death row inmates are held in isolation.

    He was convicted as an accomplice in the 1992 murder of six people, including four children, and sentenced to death. In 2010, he was released after prosecutors acknowledged what Graves’ family and several college journalists had been saying for years: No forensic evidence tied Graves to the Somerville, Texas, murders—and the case relied on the testimony of the actual killer.

    That person, Robert Earl Carter, was executed in 2000, and before his death offered sworn testimony that he lied when he named Graves an accomplice. But it took another decade before Graves was finally released for a crime the state now says he did not commit.

    Graves was 26 when he entered his cell. Now he’s 47. In between, his children grew up without him, and he missed the birth of his grandchildren.

    The state of Texas paid Graves $1.4 million as compensation for his wrongful imprisonment, although not without a bitter legal battle.

    During his incarceration, Graves languished in a 8-by-6-foot cell much like McBride’s. Equipped with a single window, Graves could glimpse the sky if he stood on his bed. The cell was equipped with a shelf large enough for a radio or a typewriter.

    Graves told the Indy his time in solitary changed him. It’s difficult for him to socialize, and he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

    “I have emotional breakdowns and don’t even understand why,” he said. “I can be out in the world around millions of people and still feel alone.”

    He spent the interminable hours writing pleas for help, a ritual that he credits with preserving his sanity.

    “I was probably unique because I knew every morning that I woke up that I was innocent,” he says. “I didn’t have time to think about what was going on around me. If I was to think in those terms, I probably would have lost my mind. Every year, those walls get a little closer around you. You start feeling claustrophobic.”

    But Graves said he never lost hope, even as the years passed and his appeals failed.

    “That would have meant I understood what was happening in my life,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, I was down. My thing is, I was wondering when is this ever going to end? Am I going to walk out on my own or am I going to go out in a box?”

    Graves, who testified on solitary confinement before a U.S. Senate subcommittee in June, calls his time in solitary “the worst inhumane treatment that a man can give another man.”

    American prisons need fundamental reforms, Graves says, starting with rehabilitation. Provide education for prisoners, he says, so they are high-functioning members of society when they are released. Solitary confinement falls far short of that goal, according to Graves.

    “We don’t seem to be that serious about reforming people,” said Graves. “All we want to do is punish them.”

    “Do you believe you could live in a box like that 23 hours a day, a person who goes in normal, and it wouldn’t have any negative impact on you?”

    In June, Sen. Durbin grilled Charles Samuels Jr., director for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, during a heated meeting of the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights.

    A life-size replica of an isolation cell, spare and gray, sat in the corner of the committee room.

    It was a landmark hearing for solitary confinement opponents, who note Durbin’s subcommittee was one of the first to consider prison reform as a human rights issue.

    Samuels—who reported roughly 7 percent, or more than 15,000, federal inmates are held in isolation—later conceded prolonged isolation poses risks for prisoners. It’s not the “preferred option,” he acknowledged.

    Durbin, who opposes solitary confinement, said the federal prison system needs policy changes to address this type of punishment. “We can have a just society, and we can be humane in the process,” Durbin said. “We can punish wrongdoers, and they should be punished under our system of justice, but we don’t have to cross that line.”

    The number of prisoners being sent to solitary confinement skyrocketed in recent decades. A report from the national law think tank Vera Institute of Justice indicated the number of prisoners held in segregation surged 40 percent between 1995 and 2000. In 2004, more than 40 states operated a form of supermax housing. North Carolina does not run a supermax, although it does operate a similar “maximum control” unit in a Butner institution, Walker said.

    Prison leaders often argue isolated confinement is used for the most dangerous inmates who cannot assimilate into the general prison population. But critics say it’s cases like McBride and his fellow kitchen protesters that are the norm: using prolonged isolation as a method of control or punishment for relatively minor prison offenses.

    In one notable case in Virginia, Rastafarian inmates were sent into isolation because they refused—on religious grounds—to shave and cut their hair in compliance with a 1999 policy change. Some spent years in isolation, and at least one man spent a decade in solitary confinement.

    Stephen Soldz, an influential Massachusetts clinical psychologist and solitary confinement expert, says the “vast majority” of segregated prisoners are isolated as a disciplinary measure, not because they are a threat to other inmates or prison staff.

    Soldz, who served as a consultant in Guantanamo Bay trials, generated media attention in 2007 when he called for the American Psychological Association to forbid its members from participating in interrogations that included the use of prolonged solitary confinement. The APA later issued a resolution stating its opposition to torture.

    Today, Soldz remains a staunch opponent of solitary confinement.

    “There’s no doubt from the research literature and clinical experience that solitary long-term and not so long-term causes distress, depression, anxiety and more severe conditions in a number of cases,” Soldz says. “People have become suicidal or suffer hallucinations.”

    Soldz says the practice is especially dangerous in a prison, where many inmates are already mentally ill.

    “You’ve got mentally ill people, you put them in a context which causes mental illness in normal people,” he says. “So it exacerbates the illness. They’re less in control, so it causes the situation to keep them in isolation. It’s so barbaric.”

    Mental illness is a key component of the solitary confinement debate. A 2006 U.S. Department of Justice study reported 56 percent of inmates in state prisons have some form of mental illness. In federal prisons, it was 45 percent; 64 percent in local jails.

    Terry Kupers, a California psychiatrist and author of the 1999 book Prison Madness: The Mental Health Crisis Behind Bars and What We Must Do About It, says the research shows a troubling problem for an already troubled population.

    “Solitary causes psychological damage,” Kupers said. “And it causes damage to ordinary people who have a good, strong ego, but if someone is vulnerable to psychological illness, it causes greater damage.”

    In a statement to Durbin’s Senate subcommittee this year, Kupers said most research clearly shows isolated inmates are far more prone to anxiety, paranoia, delusions, depression, nervous breakdowns and suicidal thoughts.

    According to Kupers, national data show that half of prison suicides occur among the 3 to 8 percent of the prison population that is in segregated or isolated cells.

    However, a controversial 2010 study of long-term segregation in Colorado prisons found no evidence that solitary confinement is detrimental to an inmate’s mental health. Most surprising, the study reported some improvement in segregated prisoners.

    Critics note that one of the study’s principal authors, Maureen O’Keefe, worked for the Colorado Department of Corrections. The study also relied on self-reports, rather than professional psychological assessments, from prisoners whose primary motivation might be to convince prison officials that they are mentally fit to return to the general prison population.

    Meanwhile, critics say solitary confinement is also ineffective in rehabilitating inmates. A 2007 study by University of Washington researchers found supermax prisoners released directly into the community were more likely to re-offend than their general population counterparts.

    Kupers said many in his profession believe the key to behavioral change lies in offering positive rewards for good behavior rather than punishment for misbehavior.

    “Solitary confinement is the antithesis of rehabilitation,” Kupers said.

    If the human rights aspects of solitary confinement don’t prompt public officials to change their policies, the fiscal realities may.

    Durbin points out the costs of solitary confinement in an Illinois supermax are a staggering $60,000 per inmate annually compared to $22,000 for an inmate in the general population.

    In North Carolina, the annual cost of “close” custody, which includes ICON inmates and other maximum-security prisoners, was $34,153 per inmate at the end of the 2010–2011 fiscal year, the most recent data available. The bulk of North Carolina’s prisoners are held in “medium” custody, which cost $28,214 per inmate last fiscal year.

    “I would prefer that the anti-rehabilitative effect and increased recidivism rate would motivate legislators to consider closing isolation or supermax units,” Kupers said. “But if it turns out it’s the expense that motivates them, that’s OK, too.”

    Chris McBride’s story is incomplete. According to prison records, he’s not likely to leave prison until 2037. He will be 56.

    But, provided he has no additional infractions, McBride is expected to leave his isolation cell in January. If the critics are right, McBride will be a harder, unstable man. If the proponents are right, McBride will be a more disciplined man.

    In the meantime, McBride says he will spend his hours sleeping, reading or writing. There’s nothing else to do.

    “The public should care about this because we are all human. No, they may not think about prison life on a daily basis, but in the blink of an eye, they could be part of it. I want the public to know about the inhumane conditions we as inmates have to deal with. I want them to know about the mental and physical abuse we have to endure on a daily basis. Just because we are in prison doesn’t make us any less human. There are plenty of criminals not locked up. Look at our government. We still have feelings, and deserve to be treated as people. Not animals.”

  4. admin says:

    by Jay Taber
    October 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm
    While you are correct in noting the psychological warfare strategy of fostering distrust within the resistance community, it is also true that prior to her incarceration, Plante stated she was terrified and depressed. Any psychologist or astute human being would recognize that she was unlikely to hold up in a federal detention facility. Either she would talk, or she would have a nervous breakdown. And that is something federal prosecutors knew going in. So regardless of what transpired, the lesson must be taken to heart by those who have anything at risk. Communications security is not to be taken lightly.

    by pinbalwyz
    November 2, 2012 at 2:56 pm
    Leah was a vulnerable young woman. Her tattoos amounted to a prayer to be left unharmed and to regain control over her life. She cried going into that courthouse. Nobody (other than her attorney) walked through those courthouse/jailhouse doors with her! She denies being in Seattle on May Day. Nobody has contradicted her. She denies planning/conspiring to promote those activities. In fact, she publicly denounced the street violence. (Plante explained she’s not condoning the May Day vandalism. “Just because I’m taking this stand does not mean I endorse anything that happened on May Day,” she said.)

    An anarchist needn’t subscribe to vandalism/violence. She’s since angrily declared she doesn’t *owe* anybody anything, while admitting her mental health had been compromised and her PTSD had been exacerbated, that she’d had nightmares and panic attacks.

    It’s a fool’s errand to expect this fragile young well intentioned woman to bear all the sins of her peers like she was some Christlike figure on the cross. She deserves control over her own life without being pressured or 2nd guessed. Shame on it!–the CAPR, that is. (

  5. friendless says:

    Sun, 11/04/2012 – 1:57am — AnonAnok #
    repost from pdx indymedia

    First off, let’s look at the facts of the situation. We do not actually need to know what Leah said in the grand jury hearing to find her actions problematic and unprincipled. If she did not talk, then she is refusing to give important information to the two grand jury resisters, Matt & KTEEO, who are still in prison about how they could similarly not cooperate and get out of prison.

    If she did talk, then it is the responsible thing to own up to what she said so the people that may be targeted or implicated by her statements can appropriately protect themselves. What we know is she was in prison for less than four days. She capitulated almost immediately. Her time in isolation was about to end and she *requested* an audience with the grand jury because she was terrified of the other prisoners and did not want to have to interact with them (racist and classist much?).

    She then was released after that grand jury hearing. She did not inform her support network until two days later. At that point everyone absolutely believed the best about Leah. Some of the folks involved in the CAPR decision are close with her personally, and all of them were very invested in her case. They did not expect or want this, and it was a difficult decision.

    When Leah finally did get back to people, she basically told them to go fuck themselves and, per her usual routine, cast herself as the tragic victim and portrayed them as horrible monsters for daring to ask what happened. Since then Leah has reportedly fled Portland entirely and has gone into hiding. Her rich daddy probably flew her home after playing anarchist got to be a lot less fun.

    I find a lot of the discussion around this to be offensively patronizing. I think that many of the dudes defending Leah need to seriously examine their white knight impulses around this. Leah is a grown adult person. She can be accountable for her actions. I think this whole poor, wounded little white-girl schtick is totally disgusting and manipulative. PTSD is not a valid excuse for acting in profoundly selfish and damaging ways. Lots of people have extensive trauma and are able to act with integrity.

    This may have been Leah’s first run in with state violence, but it is not even comparable to the kinds of state violence people of color face every goddam day. The fact is, Leah is 24, has no responsibilities what-so-ever and was facing a *maximum* of 18 months. Compare that to other political prisoners, such as Marie Mason, who is doing 20 years, has two kids, and has not sold anyone out, or Jeremy Hammond who is facing 40-Life plus 1 and has not said a word.

    I think people need to ask themselves why no one can muster the same level of adoration for KTEEO, who does not fit the patriarchal beauty standard, does not appeal to patriarchal sensibilities by acting helpless and fragile, yet has been amazing this entire time. Granted, Leah has a lot more marketing expertise. Let’s face it, her primary “political work” prior to this was amassing a TUMBLR following as anarcho-barbie.

    Leah is not a ‘victim’ here; that is a bullshit method of dodging responsibility. If she wants to be an “anarchist star” she needs to do more than post 8 billion cutesy photos of herself. To me, it seems obvious she is a self-promoting narcissist who, when truly tested on her posturing, failed miserably. She is trying as best as possible to have it both ways: maintain her social capital and fame, while cooperating to some degree with a State investigation.

    The best method she has come up with is the damsel in distress/avoidance/deflection approach. I can’t respect that.
    It seems to me ideas about support in general are getting wildly conflated here. I think it’s great if people who are her close friends support her personally, but let’s not pretend this is about politics. Stand by your friend when they fuck up, but don’t ask people to not point out that it was a fuck up, and a major fuck up at that.

    Leah can’t handle prison, so she shouldn’t get involved in radical politics where that’s a possibility. People have no reason to work with her politically as she has proven herself to be untrustworthy. Even if that’s because of mental heath issues, it’s still the case. Also, it is absurd for Leah to demand everything be unreasonably on her own terms, her emotional comfort should be the central concern of everyone, and so on.

    There are a lot of people’s lives on the line here. If she can’t care about them, why should we care about her? Leah, furthermore, is not asking for political support. She is asking to be left alone.

    Sun, 11/04/2012 – 1:50am — Cascadia_21 #

    This is troubling; I had not yet read this. Now, when it was said “this is what we know”, I want to know how they know…for validation. Furthermore, this reiterates the importance of the discussion of cooperation, resistance, and flight. These are the things we need to focus on.

    If Leah is off in witness protection program right now, then our time is better spent smashing the state and undermining the grand jury than it is spent arguing about innocence when she’s apparently no longer at our disposal to find truth and justice.

    And as always, ACAB

  6. admin says:

    Leah-Lynn has become cause-célèbre among anarchists and a wider community of concerned citizens thanks to Tumblr. Predictably, media coverage of the grand jury indictments and the uncooperative witnesses has focused more on her looks than on her philosophical basis for resistance, or on the fact that Kteeo and Matt remain in federal prison and could be kept there until March 2014.

    Leah-Lynn is not speaking to the media at this time, and the reason she was released remains a mystery. But we spoke to Chris Marckesano from the Committee Against Political Repression, a Portland-based organization supporting the anarchists subpoenaed by the grand jury, about the complicated legal, ethical, philosophical, and political aspects of this case.

    VICE: I first wanted to ask you what your association is with everything?

    Chris Marckesano: I got a text message early in the morning on July 25th that several houses had been raided, so within a few hours I met up with some other people who wanted to provide support work with the folks after the FBI finished searching those houses. We waited for them to calm down and re-gather themselves, then we figured out the work that needed to be done to get them the support they need.

    When the raid happened, was it clear what was going on?

    Yes and no. After we got a chance to look at some of the warrants and see the fact that they explicitly said to seize black clothing and anarchist literature, it became apparent pretty fast that they were targeting anarchists in the Northwest area.

    It seems like a lot of the focus has been on Leah-Lynn Plante. I was wondering why that is considering three people were arrested and two of them are still imprisoned.

    I think it can be a combination of things. The objectification of Leah-Lynn is something out of anyone’s control. But from day one both Leah and Dennison, who are the two people that were subpoenaed in Portland, decided that they wanted to be as public and outspoken about the issue as possible. I think Matt started being public shortly before he was incarcerated and Kteeo waited until the day she knew she was going in. There was just more priming and narrative building leading up to Leah’s incarceration.

    You mean on her part?

    Yeah between Leah and her immediate support team. She gave us the go ahead to really try and push both her individual story and put her name out into the public, which I think helped the general narrative a lot. Dennison had also taken the same approach but pretty shortly into the process his subpoena was dropped. At first, that sounded like great news, but then based on the questions that had been asked to Leah-Lynn at the grand jury, we realized that it was because they were targeting Denison now in the investigation instead of just asking him to testify.

    They didn’t want to grant him immunity?

    No they did not. He refused to show up to his first appearance and then they dropped his subpoena and pretty shortly after, it became clear that he was added to the list of targets.

    What do you mean by “targets.” Do you guys believe that these subpoenas are related to the vandalism and violence on May Day?

    Five people from Portland were tailed up to Olympia. The state is saying this is all about May Day, but the people that they were going after were already under surveillance. That leads us to assume that this is definitely a targeted investigation not on the actions of individuals but on the political beliefs of the people in question.

    Your organization recently put out a statement saying it would no longer give material or organizational support for Leah-Lynn. Why was that decision made?

    I can’t get much into the internal decision-making process-—we can’t give much more information. After Leah was released from prison after another hearing, she was not forthcoming about what kind of questions were asked or answered. Because of that lack of information, we’ve suspended support for her. What that looks like for the time-being is that we’re suspending doing any media support work, putting out any of her statements or anything like that until we can get a better picture of what’s going on. It’s unfortunate but we’re a small organization and there are two more people in prison and another newly subpoenaed.

    We are doing our best to not speculate what happened until we get information from Leah—we want to keep people from making wild assumptions. When people randomly speculate that doesn’t help the resistance that we’re trying to build support for.

    Have you ever had to rescind support in the past?

    This is the first time. It’s happened with other support organizations, but this is the first time we’ve made the decision.

    Have you had any communication with Leah?

    There’s been no official communication between the organization and Leah. I don’t know if individuals have spoken to her.

    If it turned out Leah did not collaborate with the grand jury would your organization support her again?

    Yes, we would support anyone who is not cooperating or resisting.

    How do you support resistors?

    Doing press work, soliciting donations, keeping money in their commissary.

    If it turned out that Leah was released because she cooperated, do you think she would lose the support of the community too?

    In the past, snitch-jackets have ripped movement apart. So we don’t want to speculate on what happened until something concrete comes out.

    Can you give us a basic rundown of the type of anarchism you advocate for?

    It’s hard because there are so many different strains under the general heading of anarchy: people who are opposed to the state; opposed to all systems of oppression; anti capitalism; and other radically different visions of people coming together based on their shared beliefs as opposed to hierarchical situations.

    Do you think the government’s surveillance, information gathering, and legal strategies in this case are borrowed from responses to Islamist terrorism in the U.S?

    If you look at the some of the most recent examples of the counterterrorism that’s going on, the ones being trumpeted by the state are based solely on entrampment. “Hey this person might be a terrorist.” When actually, there’s also an FBI agent that was really trying to dig up dirt. The FBI imprisoned a person from that mosque because he didn’t actively shut the undercover FBI agent down. We seen this kind of manipulation happen time and again, especially in the anarchist, environmental, and animal rights organizations.

    Going back to the objectification of Leah: Is that consistent with gender dynamics in the anarchist movement?

    We definitely prioritize feminism and equality, but it’s no surprise that knuckleheads post inappropriate things on the internet. Unfortunately, it’s a sign of the system that we live in.

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