This week, Sabrina Rubin Erdely's article "The Plot Against Occupy" was published on Rolling Stone's website. We are thankful to Rolling Stone and Sabrina Rubin Erdely for running an article which brings information about this case into the public spotlight. This case reflects some critical trends in law enforcement practices that have a significant bearing on our political landscape, and it's important that we are looking at these phenomena publically. Erdely also takes a stab at making sense of how these five guys could be convinced to participate in this potentially murderous act, and we appreciate her wanting to tell a story about these guys that puts this act they're accused of in context. However, beyond providing back story, the work goes astray as it enters into the realm of creative fiction, putting words into the guys' mouths and feelings into their hearts and presenting this as an authentic retelling of facts.
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."