Reposted from NATO5.occupychi.org's "An Open Letter"
Imagine being trapped in a cage twenty-four hours a day. You have to eat food better fit for a garbage can than a human. Surrounded by guards who hate you, push you around, call you a terrorist.
This is happening right now to our friends who are in jail on trumped-up charges of domestic terrorism, even though we all know what their real crime was—standing up against the NATO warmongers. Free speech is under attack, and the NATO 5 are victims of this attack.
But you can make a difference in their lives and the lives of all those who speak truth to power. You can support those who fight to make our society a better place for you and everyone you know. Please donate right now to the bail fund and help release our friends, your friends.
Brent, Brian, Jared, Sebastian, and Mark's arrests weren’t an attempt to catch “violent anarchists” that were going to smash private property and harass businessmen in suits. The arrests were simply a tool to scare away crowds from protesting the war machine.
Unlawful arrests have long been used to quell dissent. In 2003, 800 people were unlawfully arrested during an antiwar march, and the city of Chicago settled, giving $12 million taxpayer dollars to those unlawfully detained. Twelve million dollars wasted while the city shutters schools, mental health clinics, libraries, and other services. Confidential informants were sent to infiltrate peaceful activism groups, to attempt to entrap individuals. Why would the city do this? The answer is clear: to justify spending money on weapons and personnel, to justify its increasing repression of dissent without raising the ire of the average citizen—after all, with these unlawful raids, detentions, arrests, and prosecution, the government is supposedly "protecting” the public from the “violent anarchists.”
According to the National Lawyer’s Guild’s report, The Policing of Political Speech: Constraints on Mass Dissent, in the U.S. most allegations against protesters are proven false after the fact.
“Time and time again, millions of dollars have been obtained by the police departments for personnel and equipment at large events, justified by confidential informant testimony that large numbers of ‘anarchists’ are planning to attend and engage in violence. Closer examination of the facts often reveals the falsity of such allegations: numerous police informants, many with criminal backgrounds, admit when later questioned that activist groups they infiltrated never planned any violent activities. Indeed, millions more have been spent paying damages to the demonstrators victimized by these tactics.”
In the words of Eric Ruder from The Socialist Worker, “The state has set an outrageously high bail...which itself serves as a form of pressure on defendants to plead guilty to a lesser charge or face the prospect of remaining in prison during a trial that could take years in order to prove their innocence.”
This is why your donation to the bail fund is so important. You can take a stand and say that they cannot take our friends and keep them locked up. That the government cannot use money as repression. That we can and will take care of our own. We have told them to expect us; now is the time to show our power.
With your help, we can free our friends who are wrongly imprisoned for standing up against war. Five innocent young men are being held in a cage—will you help get them out?
Thanks for everything you do to support this movement. I hope you will donate today.
Friend of the NATO 5