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ROd Feree Speech Trial Compilation

by vk m nanda Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2007 at 3:19 PM
San Diego City Beat

It is impossible that twelve intelligent jurors could find Rod guilty on all three conditions: The judge told the jurors that they must find that when Coronado spoke to a Hillcrest audience four years ago, he not only meant to 1. teach them step-by-step how to commit arson, 2. he intended them to go and commit federal crimes of violence 3. that arson was “imminent” and “likely” to occur because of Coronado’s words.

ROd Feree Speech Tri...
alberto-gonzales.jpg, image/jpeg, 291x420

trial, Day 4 September 17th, 2007

This morning I sat in on a couple hours of closing arguments in the trial of animal-rights activist Rod Coronado. CityBeat editor David Rolland’s been covering the trial (for a compendium of what’s happened so far, go here), but he had an important meeting to attend, so we did a tag-team thing at about 10:15 a.m., just after the prosecution wrapped up its closing arguments.n Tony Serra, the famed civil-rights attorney, spoke for roughly 90 minutes. He’s a trip—the kind of attorney who inspires movies (indeed, the film True Believer is about him). For more on Serra, check out this profile here…

Serra focused on the word “imminent” and whether it applies to the case. On Aug. 1, 2003, at a talk in Hillcrest, Coronado demonstrated how he used to build crude incendiary devices. This was in response to a question from an audience member at the conclusion of his prepared speech. For Coronado to be guilty, the prosecution will have had to convince the jury that Coronado intended for the demonstration to motivate someone in the audience to go out and immediately commit a lawless action (”imminent=immediate” was displayed on an overhead screen during part of Serra’s speech).

“If the person has time to reflect,” Serra said, “it becomes then the actions of that individual” and not a response to what Coronado said.

To illustrate his point about inciting “imminent lawless action,” Serra did re-enactments of historical protests. He started with the Boston Tea Party. “The English are robbing us blind!” Serra said. “They bring the tea in, they charge us outrageous prices! We must strike back! I will do everything in my means to oppose this taxation without representation! Bloodsucking taxation!”This, Serra explained, is protected speech—you can rail all you want against a perceived injustice as long as you don’t incite others to commit a violent act. (We’ll forgive Serra the fact that the First Amendment to the Constitution had not yet been drafted when the Boston Tea Party happened. It should be noted that Serra’s also, by principle, a tax evader.)

An example of unprotected speech, Serra said, would be: “Follow me my good people and we will throw the tea into the sea!”“It’s calculated to produce imminent, immediate action,” he said. “That’s not the case, not the case [with Coronado].”Serra told the jury that Coronado’s past actions (he did five years in federal prison for a 1995 arson attack on a Michigan State University animal-testing lab) shouldn’t be used to determine his intent on Aug. 1, 2003. He also emphasized that even though jurors might not agree with Coronado’s personal ideology, the First Amendment “allows everyone to express their ideology; that’s the beauty of a free society.” He quoted Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” He called the prosecution’s focus on an early morning arson fire that happened hours before Coronado arrived in San Diego “a red herring.” Affiliates of eco-saboteur group, the Earth Liberation Front, claimed responsibility for the fire, but Coronado said he didn’t know about it until reporters approached him at the Hillcrest talk. No one’s been named a suspect in the fire, and Coronado’s not on trial for the arson.Serra also pointed to 9/11 and its impact on the public’s perception of law enforcement—and likewise law enforcement’s perception of its own role.

“Fear for our safety is a fundamental instinct,” he said. “We are beholden to law enforcement. They encircle and protect us.

Therefore, what law enforcement wants, law enforcement gets.” That mindset, Serra argued, “Ultimately wreaks havoc on the pursuit of justice.”

A Tale of Two Hispanics:

The Chupacabra and The Saintly Don Juan

Rod Coronado v. Alberto Gonzales

About the only thing that Rod Coronado and Alberto Gonzales have in common is a few Mexican ancestors.

Is it ironic that the US Justice Department is in chaos at the same time that it is trying to send a retired activists to prison for five years for talking? No it’s not irony it’s a human tragedy and a great example of the state of America.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was either the Inspector Clouseau of the Bush administration -- a man who couldn't put one foot in front of the other without stumbling -- or a cunning political operative who did President Bush's bidding, no questions asked.

Before his disgraceful resignation Gonzales had been busy officially breaking national and international law, lying to the public and Congress and prosecuting the wrong people for the wrong things. He is still under investigation by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

When you bring the Justice Department into low repute," says Philip Heymann, a Harvard law professor who served as head of Justice's Criminal Division in the Carter administration, "you sacrifice morale."

I would add morality and justice too.

When Monica Goodling, the senior official at Justice who helped choreograph the crooked firings of the eight federal prosecutors resigned, she wrote to Gonzales of her hope that God would "bless him richly" as he continued to hang on to the job of the nation's top lawyer.

Goodling is an alum of Regent University School of Law, a Christian institution founded by televangelist Pat Robertson which is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 136th-best law school in the nation.

In 2002, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, who led prayer meetings at the Justice Department, changed the hiring rules at the Department to make it easier for ideological candidates with unimpressive academic credentials to be selected to serve as career lawyers. Our government, our Justice Department, no longer seeks the best and the brightest from our nation's law schools. Instead, it allows itself to be overrun with fourth-rate lawyers whose political views and loyalties are convenient and useful to implementing the administration's policies.

From 2001 to 2005, Gonzales served in the Bush Administration as White House Counsel. Gonzales was instrumental in the most controversial policies of the Bush administration: the USA PATRIOT Act, the use of secret military tribunals, the practices of torture preferred by GW Bush, and finally the politically motivated firings of eight United States Attorneys which led to threats of impeachment, claims of perjury and ultimately his resignation. He is lucky to have a cush lobbying job rather than a room in prison in Cuba, Afghanistan or Folsom.

Rodney Adam Coronado is an American eco-anarchist and animal rights activist who has been convicted of arson, conspiracy and other crimes in connection with his activism but now advocates non-violent action. He is a former activist for the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and a once unofficial spokesperson for the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). He is also a former crew member of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and was a member of the editorial collective of the Earth First! Journal.[1]

A former proponent of the use of direct action to end what he sees as cruelty to animals and destruction of the environment, Coronado was jailed in 1995 in connection with an arson attack on research facilities at Michigan State University. The incident caused 5,000 worth of damage.

In 2006, while serving seven months for felony conspiracy to disrupt a Mountain Lion hunt, Coronado expressed a change in his personal philosophy inspired by fatherhood. In an open letter, he wrote, "Don't ask me how to burn down a building. Ask me how to grow watermelons or how to explain nature to a child," explaining that he wants "not [to] be remembered as a man of destruction but a human believer in peace and love for all."

He announced his commitment to social change through non-destructive means. Citing his desire to raise his young son without teaching him that "violence is a necessary evil", Coronado expressed hope that others in the earth and animal liberation movements would consider more "peaceful" methods:

In February 2006, Coronado was arrested on a felony charge of demonstrating the use of a destructive device at a speech he gave three years earlier in San Diego.

The prosecutors claim they only have to prove that Coronado intended to incite people to commit violent crimes. They hope to show that everything he said or did as an activist is proof of his intent.

Besides the fact that Coronado has changed and wishes to retire – which would remove his future threat to the public - he also did not teach how to commit a violent crime. He only answered a question about how he used a jug of gasoline to burn a building in 1992, a crime that he has already served time for.

But the biggest flaw in the prosecution’s case is that the intent of the law was to stop dangerous people from harming the public – to stop a clear and present danger. In the entire history of ALF, ELF and Earth First! No one has ever been harmed except the activists. When doing direct action these groups take great pains and great risks to ensure that no one and not even one snake or pet is harmed. Only if you believe that giant corporations deserve the same rights as average people can you twist the argument into suggesting that Coronado or any of the activist groups are a threat to anyone.

So, this case is flawed and a travesty of justice just as Alberto Gonzales was a travesty at Justice (The Department of “Bush’s Justice”).

Life is full of Irony.

Tragedy will ensue if Coronado is convicted and has to wait in prison for his easy victory on appeal.


The Supreme Court has carved out three famous exceptions to free speech: the “fighting words” exception (Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire), the obscenity exception (Miller v. California), and the “clear and present danger” exception (Brandenburg v. Ohio). For example, relic that it is, the 1940 “Smith Act”, which prohibits advocating the overthrow of a government of the United States, is still on the books. (See Smith Act, 18 U.S.C.A. § 2385.)

From 2001 to 2005, Gonzales served in the Bush Administration as White House Counsel.[1] Amid several controversies and allegations of perjury before Congress, on August 27, 2007 Gonzales announced his resignation as Attorney General, effective

The Executive Order 13233, drafted by Gonzales and issued by George W. Bush on November 1, 2001 shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, attempted to place limitations on the Freedom of Information Act by restricting access to the records of former presidents.

Gonzales authored a controversial memo in January of 2002 that explored whether Article III of the Geneva Convention applied to Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters captured in Afghanistan and held in detention facilities around the world, including Camp X-Ray in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The memo made several arguments both for and against providing Article III protection to Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. He concluded that Article III was outdated and ill-suited for dealing with captured Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. He described as "quaint" the provisions that require providing captured Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters "commissary privileges, scrip, athletic uniforms, and scientific instruments". He also argued that existing military regulations and instructions from the President were more than adequate to ensure that the principles of the Geneva Convention would be applied. He also argued that undefined language in the Geneva Convention, such as "outrages upon personal dignity" and "inhuman treatment", could make officials and military leaders subject to the War Crimes Act of 1996 if mistreatment was discovered.[10]

In 2004, when this memo was leaked to the press, Gonzales said about the memo in Senate confirmation hearings that "… I don't recall today whether or not I was in agreement with all of the analysis, but I don't have a disagreement with the conclusions then reached by the department."[11]

Gonzales also authored the Presidential Order which authorized the use of military tribunals to try terrorist suspects. He fought with Congress to keep Vice President Dick Cheney's Energy task force documents from being reviewed. Gonzales was also an early advocate of the controversial USA PATRIOT Act.

One Response to “Both sides rest in Coronado trial”

JAMIE Says: September 16th, 2007 at 12:31 pm

VICTORY for Rod - or at least a hung jury:

It is impossible that twelve intelligent jurors could find Rod guilty on all three conditions:

The judge told the jurors that they must find that when Coronado spoke to a Hillcrest audience four years ago, he not only meant to

1. teach them step-by-step how to commit arson,

2. he intended them to go and commit federal crimes of violence

3. that arson was “imminent” and “likely” to occur because of Coronado’s words.

1. He did a terrible job teaching them how to commit an arson. It is not enough to know how to fill a jug with gasoline, or how to make a cigarette or incense fuse. If you do not place the incendiary in the right place it will have little effect. Even many ELF/ALF activists with much practice have had numerous devices fail or cause little damage. I don’t even think Rod knows much about this.

2. Intent? How could any juror believe beyond a reasonable doubt that they knew for sure what Rod was thinking or intending… I doubt that Rod even knew. But the evidence is clear that Rod had reduced his activism over the years and that he was focusing more and more on his family. The FBI helped him make this decision to give up, with their constant harassment.

3. Imminent or likely arson!

That is the clincher. There is no evidence that any speech by any activist ever resulted in any imminent arson. If we were to measure Rod’s speaking abilities based on his ability to incite arson, we would have to give him an F. The law is clearly meant for a different type of speech, one full of hate and directing people to go and commit violent crimes immediately.

“The rubber meets the road, I think, when it comes to jury instructions,” Judge Jeffrey Miller said. The jury gets its instructions before beginning its deliberations, which could start Friday or Monday.



One entry found for imminent.

Main Entry: im•mi•nent

Pronunciation: ‘i-m&-n&nt

Function: adjective

Etymology: Latin imminent-, imminens, present participle of imminEre to project, threaten, from in- + -minEre (akin to Latin mont-, mons mountain) — more at MOUNT

: ready to take place; especially: hanging threateningly over one’s head

- im•mi•nent•ly adverb Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source

im•mi•nent /ˈɪmənənt/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[im-uh-nuhnt] Pronunciation

Key - Show IPA Pronunciation

–adjective 1. likely to occur at any moment; impending: Her death is imminent.

2. projecting or leaning forward; overhanging.


[Origin: 1520–30;

—Related forms

im•mi•nent•ly, adverb

im•mi•nent•ness, noun

—Synonyms 1. near, at hand. Imminent, Impending, Threatening all may carry the implication of menace, misfortune, disaster, but they do so in differing degrees. Imminent may portend evil: an imminent catastrophe, but also may mean simply “about to happen”: The merger is imminent. Impending has a weaker sense of immediacy and threat than imminent: Real tax relief legislation is impending, but it too may be used in situations portending disaster: impending social upheaval; to dread the impending investigation. Threatening almost always suggests ominous warning and menace: a threatening sky just before the tornado struck.

—Antonyms 1. distant, remote. Unabridged (v 1.1)

BAsed on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

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Bush and Gonzo GOnzales Birds of a Feather

by vk m nanda Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2007 at 3:19 PM
San Diego City Beat

Bush and Gonzo GOnza...
fear_and_loathing_gonzales.jpg, image/jpeg, 300x447

Impeach, convift, shun, what do you do with these kind of scondrels... can they learn, will they repay???

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