A feature length piece about the case of the Cleveland Four which first hit the news on May 1st of this year. It is also more generally about entrapment of activists by the FBI. This piece was produced by lizzie anderson, a volunteer journalist for Pittsburgh's Rustbelt Radio, with help from the Cleveland 4's support group.
Cleveland 4 Continue Fight for Justice in Entrapment Case After Guilty Pleas
This Wednesday, three of the four young men known as the "Cleveland 4," Brandon Baxter, Doug Wright and Connor Stevens, entered into a non-cooperating plea agreement for all counts of the charges brought against them, but not to the government’s terrorism enhancement. The Cleveland 4 Support Committee continues to support Brandon, Doug, Connor and Josh during this time.
The sentencing for these three will not occur until after a hearing scheduled for November 5th and 6th. at which point Brandon, Doug and Connor will still have the opportunity to present evidence in court regarding unlawful entrapment actions by the FBI. Their sentence could range from five years to three lifetimes, with the defense and prosecution differing over the how federal sentencing guidelines would apply.
“We are distraught to see them plead guilty to these charges,” said Joshua Ehrlich of the Cleveland 4 Support Committee. “It is disturbing to see this situation unfold knowing that the FBI manufactured and carried out this so-called plot by means of coercion and manipulation.” The FBI has a long history of using counterintelligence tactics like infiltration, disruption and entrapment to undermine movements for social change. The government is also known for using such tactics to prey on those who are young, vulnerable and economically marginalized in order to carry out their political agenda.
Although claims of terrorism have been made against the defendants, the Cleveland 4 Support Committee believes that the actual terrorism has been perpetuated by the U.S. government against the public and those working for social change through movements like Occupy Wall Street. "This is not a case about homegrown terrorism, like the government would have us believe," said Julia Boyd of the Cleveland 4 Support Committee. "This is a case that was manufactured and carried out by the FBI in order to undermine political resistance in the United States and to satisfy a quota in its so-called war on terror."
Friends of Eric present information about the case of Eric McDavid, an activist who was entrapped by the FBI in 2006, which serves as a lens through which to study the basic concepts of entrapment, the use of informants, and government repression in general. Unfortunately, the use of these tools by the state is becoming more and more prevalent, and it's imperative that people understand how they work.