On Monday, December 7, 2008, CopWatch and other community organizations will protest the first day of the re-trial of the Liberty City 7 (LC7). The picket line will take place at the federal courthouse, 301 N. Miami, Ave., in downtown Miami beginning at 9:00am.
We are calling for the immediate release of all of the men and that the government drop the trumped up, politically motivated charges, thereby ending the re-trial.
During the first trial, which ended in December 2007, the jury saw through the sham charges and acquitted one of the men, Lyglenson Lemorin, outright and deadlocked on charges against the other six. Not surprisingly, the judge continued to push the official government line by calling for a new trial in less than 30 days. Lemorin remains in federal custody, held by immigration who will try him again on the same charges. Lemorin is a legal US resident.
During the summer of 2006, seven men, mostly of Haitian decent, were arrested and charged with planning to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago as well as federal buildings in Miami. The arrests were timed to coincide with FBI Director Robert Mueller's appearance on the Larry King television show, and the government falsely reported the men were part of a "radical Muslim group" in order to foster suspicion and anti-Muslim sentiment in the general public.
Of course, none of the men were Muslim and no weapons or bomb making materials were found in their possession and the "plot" was primarily crafted by an FBI informant, not the men. Most importantly, the group disbanded shortly after the infamous "Al Qaeda oath," which was orchestrated by the FBI informant and during which several of the men expressed confusion about the wording of the oath and at least one slept through the ceremony, exhausted from working all day.
The arrests were a politically motivated ploy to divert attention from the story, released the following day by the New York Times, detailing the Bush administration's spying on ATM and credit card transactions of millions of American citizens. The diversion worked as media outlets turned their attention to the story of "homegrown terrorists.
Even in this current political climate, the US government was unable to secure even one conviction against seven Black men. You know that if you cannot convict seven Black men of conspiring to do something, your case has some problems.
Taking no chances for the second trial, the judge called for a new trial to begin less than 30 days after the first one ended. In addition, she plans to sequester to jury and provide armed escorts for the jury to and from the courthouse. Neither one of these measures were in place during the first trial and no incidents occurred. Clearly, the judge is looking to intimidate the jury, using the beefed up security to create an atmosphere of fear in an attempt to make jurors think that if all this security is required, there must be a threat associated with the men. The worse part is that none of this is making anyone safer.
This is no idle exercise to show support for seven confused young men. The so-called "war on terror" has served primarily to increase the power of government to do what they were unable to do pre-September 11: spy on us without fear of public outrage. The potential for utilizing the Justice Department to quell political dissent and activism- all in the name of fighting terror- is real and will fundamentally undermine the ability of political activists to receive a fair trial, either in court or in the court of public opinion.
This case is clearly a trial balloon to determine what people will tolerate from the US government. The target- seven impoverished black men- was obviously selected in order to minimize public sentiment and support. When arrests on flimsy, politically motivated charges of terrorism become common place, you will be unable to argue that you did not see this coming.
We demand the immediate release of all the men and the dropping of these politically motivated charges. Please make plans to attend the rally in support of the LC7 and against this gross violation of justice.
a project of the Center for Pan-African Development