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help stop grand jury harassment in Michigan

by water defense committee Sunday, Jan. 18, 2004 at 7:25 PM

Two Michigan-based water rights activists, Marie Mason and Frank Ambrose, are continuing to be harassed by a federal grand jury. The two have been subpoenaed to provide DNA and palm prints. The last time a phone call alert was put out, their offices received "scores of impolite calls," and disrupted their business. Lets do it again. This time we need to be louder so that they get the message.

Two Michigan-based water rights activists, Marie Mason and Frank Ambrose, are continuing to be harassed by a federal grand jury. The two have been subpoenaed to provide DNA and palm prints. The current date for Frank to provide these items is January 20, 2004. Marie is out of the country on at an international water conference, and will be required to provide these items when she returns. The grand jury is investigating the attempted arson at the Ice Mountain pumping station in Michigan.

The last time a phone call alert was put out, their offices received "scores of impolite calls," and disrupted their business. Lets do it again. This time we need to be louder so that they get the message.

Marie and Frank filed a motion to quash the subpoenas, but were denied. The judge said that the grand jury transcript, which is secret, showed that evidence had been produced that Marie Mason and Frank Ambrose, who are married, had been involved in violent and destructive activities in the past. This is a patent lie.

It seems obvious that the grand jury was shown the “evidence” that one of the two, Frank Ambrose had been falsely arrested for a ELF claimed crime of spiking trees. Those charges were dropped by the state because of a lack of evidence. Even after the charges were dropped, the FBI and federal government has continued to trump the arrest as one of their “major breakthroughs” into the ELF. They did so in sworn testimony before congress five months after the charges were dropped, and again more recently in Richmond, VA when a US attorney mentioned the arrest as a breakthrough in a newspaper article.

So, not only are they improperly using the arrest as evidence, they are also lumping it on to Marie as well.

Grand juries, as has been said before, are antiquated legal bodies that go contrary to all notions of American law. They operate on the basis of guilty until proven innocent. There is no guarantee of unreasonable search and seizure when it comes to grand juries, and they have an extremely low threshold of evidence required to obtain a subpoena. Throughout the paperwork the two received it is noted that they could easily end this ordeal with a simple saliva swab and a palm print to prove their innocence. They are not afraid of giving up their physical evidence, but just plain disagree that they should have to prove their innocence.

The two are fighting this grand jury on two basic premises. First and more broadly, they believe that grand juries should be outlawed like they have in most modern countries. They are contrary to all other notions of justice in this country—no right to the fifth amendment, no standard of evidence for subpoenas, secrecy, investigation of people instead of crimes, based on guilty until proven innocent, etc. Grand juries are solely tools of repression. They rarely come up with any answers when investigating crimes, and almost always operate with the intention to disrupt people’s lives. They are a tool of the political police when they have nothing else to use.

Second, Marie and Frank want to show that people will not be intimidated into silence. People will not bow to their Gestapo tactics without a fight. They are unwilling to give up their first amendment right to free speech just because they are being harassed by a grand jury. Since grand juries and other repressive government agencies prefer to operate in secrecy, they want to publicly expose the process and what lengths the government will go to ensure that the earth can be polluted and people’s human rights violated.

In order to do these things, your help is needed. The Water Defense Committee, a group set up to support the two and any others caught up in the governments drift net, is asking that you call those responsible for this grand jury and let them know that they have been exposed, and demand disbandment of the grand jury and cancellation of the subpoenas. We also need to not be entirely distracted by the process and continue with the work that the government wants to stop, that is the fight to end the war on the earth and the war on the poor

Take Action!

Call and/or write and tell them to disband the grand jury and cancel the subpoenas. Contact:

Lloyd K. Meyer

Assistant US Attorney


330 Ionia NW, suite 501

Grand Rapids, MI 49501

On February 4th, there will be a “State of the People” address delivered to the Governor on the Capitol steps in Lansing. It will be from 12 noon through 1:30 p.m. We will be calling on the governor to guarantee water, lights and gas to all people and for the governor to drop her support of Nestle and to shut down the Ice Mountain bottling plant. Write to or see for more information.

If you want to donate to help defray some of the legal costs, send checks or money orders made out to Water Defense Committee to:

Water Defense Committee

PO Box 44173

Detroit, MI 48244

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