I myself first got involved in the whole grand jury business shortly before one went off in 1971 and indicted me and three of my brothers on bombing conspiracy charges.. I joined with many others to fight back against a wave of political grand juries launched by the Nixon Justice Department then and throughout the early 70s. Later I found myself helping to organize the Committee to Stop the Grand Jury which was supporting resisters to a grand jury investigating the Brink truck robbery carried out by the Black Liberation Army around 1981, if I remember correctly. I got back into the grand jury resisters support issue with one up in Iowa that was harassing animal rights activists...and never looked back.
The State loves the grand jury and has used it forever to repress political activism of all stripes. We must continue the resistance against them.
I have written here about grand juries many, many times over the years. One such article which I posted and which never grows old suggests what to expect and what to do if, and when, you are called upon by the State to do their dirty deeds for them. The article entitled "Walking Through a Grand Jury" is available HERE.
Today, though we go to Seattle, well, and beyond. In Seattle several activists were called before a grand jury back in 2012 to testify about Occupy protests which took place there on May Day. These folks were asked by their kindly federal agents who kicked down their doors to pay a visit behind closed doors to a not so grand jury. As SLOG wrote in April:
...some who appeared before the grand jury—such as Katherine Olejnik and Matthew Duran—weren't in Seattle when the vandalism happened and report they were asked dozens of McCarthyesque questions about other people's political views and social affiliations. When they refused to answer such questions, they were thrown into prison (and eventually solitary confinement) for several months.
But not everybody agreed to stand before the grand jury—a few fled, including an activist named Steven Jablonski, who went to Montreal. He's come back...
Hi, my name is Steven Jablonski. I am anarchist and Grand Jury Resister.
After living in exile in Canada for about a year and a half, I returned to United States about a month ago. My return was not meant to be secretive but I felt the need to take some time for myself to collect my thoughts and decompress before I releasing an official statement. I now feel ready to break the silence and clarify some of the confusion around me being subpoenaed for the Seattle Grand Jury investigating May Day 2012 in Seattle...
In July of 2012 several people in the northwest received subpoenas to testify for a Grand Jury investigating anarchist activity and property destruction that occurred at the 2012 Seattle May Day Anti-Capitalist Demo. In late July I received a phone call from someone claiming they were an FBI agent who stated that I had been subpoenaed to testify in front of Grand Jury and how they could deliver that subpoena to me. A subpoena only goes into effect once it is “served” to a person, which means the physical subpoena must be hand delivered to the person. I made the decision to resist the grand jury by leaving the country rather than risk being served and testifying in front of the Grand Jury.
I was and still continue to be firm in my belief of noncooperation with the State. I was fairly certain that if I refused to answer the Grand Jury’s questions that I would be held in civil contempt and placed in prison. Without passing any judgment on the decisions other Grand Jury Resisters have made, I did not feel comfortable presenting myself to the State for a prison sentence. I understand that jail and prison are a fact of life for many people in this world and I also understand that by engaging in anarchist activity one can also risk imprisonment. I want do everything possible to resist cooperation with the state and I also refuse to willingly walk into my own prison cell....
Clearly the State is not happy with my and others decisions to not cooperate with this investigation. Despite this, all except one of the people involved in the investigation have maintained strict noncooperation with the investigation. But the investigation is now coming to a close. The past year and a half has most certainly been the most interesting and difficult year of my life. With the help of both old friends and new friends, anarchists both near and far, and the inspiration I have felt from my fellow Grand Jury Resisters and comrades, some things are finally coming to a close....
I also want to be clear that I stand in full solidarity with those anonymous vandals who attacked the William Kenzo Nakamura Courthouse in Seattle on May 1st 2012. There are few things I desire more than to see institutions of power targeted and attacked. I strongly identify with the insurrectionary anarchist tendency and believe that those acts of crime and rebellion that occurred on that day in Seattle serve as a small example of how people can physically attack institutions of Capital in their never-ending quest for liberation.
As excited as I am to be home, like most things in life the experience is bitter-sweet. I have had some wonderful experiences over the past year and a half and returning home has not been an easy thing to do. As frustrating as the past nineteen months have been, I know I am coming out of this experience as a stronger person with stronger bonds, and clearer idea on what affinity, friendship, and anarchy actually mean to me. But ultimately, I’m just glad to finally be home.
Solidarity with all other Grand Jury Resisters and those in Exile!
Freedom for Amelie, Carlos, and Fallon! (The 5E3 Prisoners)
Long Live Anarchy!