Thursday, December 30, 2010

Update on Roger Clement and Ottawa Comrades

Roger is still in prison. Claude is still going to court. People still need your love and support. OMD is still fund raising. Join the FB group, donate, write a letter to roger, get involved, support prisoners and political prisoners.

FB group:!/pages/Ottawa-Movement-Defense/119652828099161

We will be organizing a letter writing night for roger and other prisoners in early - mid january. And we are planning to have a fund raising party in the spring, hopefully around march. The J18 defendants still have significant legal costs, so if you can donate, it is much appreciated. Better yet, organize a fund-raiser in your community. Let us know what you are doing, and feel free to contact us if there is anything we can do to help, or if you would like someone from OMD to speak at your event.

What follows is a recent article by Sara Falconer from Ottawa XPress

Community Garden
Sara Falconer

Matthew Morgan-Brown is getting ready to visit Roger Clement in jail. It's only been a few short weeks since Morgan-Brown's own charges in the May 18 RBC firebombing were stayed due to lack of evidence, but already he is focused on making sure that his friend has the support he needs. Indeed, talking to him, it's clear that one of the things he found most difficult in the months following his arrest was not being able to help others. "Not being able to organize was really shitty. It's very important to me," he says. "The day they lifted my conditions I started organizing again." He has long been an active member of Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa (IPSMO), and has now joined Ottawa Movement Defense, a group originally formed to support the three people arrested on June 18: himself, Joseph Roger Clement and Claude Haridge.

On Dec. 7, Clement was sentenced to a term of three years and six months, having pled guilty to the arson at the Glebe branch of the Royal Bank, as well as smashing windows and ATMs at a different branch in February. It's an unusually harsh sentence for property damage crimes, given that both the defence and Crown attorneys acknowledged he took great care to eliminate any possible injury to people.

In a statement, Ottawa Movement Defense said that they were inspired by Clement's strength of character: "Even when offered the chance to apologize for his role in the firebombing, Roger refused to do so, even though his liberty was on the line." The 58-year-old

former civil service employee is well known to local activists from years of social justice organizing. "I think he's a really principled person," says Morgan-Brown, who has known Clement for several years. Haridge, who was never charged with arson, has his last day in court this week. Most of the charges against him have been stayed, other than a charge for improper storage of ammunition, and unrelated charges from a protest several years ago.

The publication ban on the case has finally been lifted, but Morgan-Brown still finds it hard to speak freely. He's on a relatively short leash, as his charges have only been stayed, not dismissed - the Crown still has a year in which it can reinstate them.

Having spent time in jail before being released on bail, he knows first-hand how much community solidarity can mean. "When I was inside, I definitely felt like there was quite a bit of support," he says. "I enjoyed getting lots of letters."

Now working at his job again and devoting his spare time to activism, he says he is grappling with the psychological scars of the arrest and months of uncertainty. "The only concern I have is to avoid pushing myself too hard. It was definitely a traumatic experience."

As he looks forward to speaking to Clement for the first time since their arrests - albeit through a heavy plastic visiting window - he hopes that the community will continue to support them and other organizers fighting charges across the country. "My thoughts are with the people who were arrested on conspiracy or other G20 charges, with massive bail restrictions," he says. "People are looking at trials two years from now, because part of their punishment is those conditions, regardless of anything else around their cases."

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Prisoners on Strike in Georgia! Show Support!

A very important message, sent from friends at defenstrator:

Now in it's 2nd day with rumors the strikes have spread to up to ten prisons. Prison officials are reported to be threatening disproportionate levels of repression. Please show support!!


Please urgently call each of the numbers below to protest any violence on the part of the guards or prison officials against a non-violent, multi-racial, one day strike.

When we called, the person put the phone down on us as soon as we said what we were calling about. So please get the name of the person who answers first so that you can then complain about them putting the phone down -- in writing if necessary.

Please forward widely to your networks!
Published on Black Agenda Report (

GA Prison Inmates Stage 1-Day Peaceful Strike Today

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

In an action which is unprecedented on several levels, black, brown and white inmates of Georgia's notorious state prison system are standing together for a historic one day peaceful strike today, during which they are remaining in their cells, refusing work and other assignments and activities. This is a groundbreaking event not only because inmates are standing up for themselves and their own human rughts, but because prisoners are setting an example by reaching across racial boundaries which, in prisons, have historically been used to pit oppressed communities against each other. PRESS RELEASE BELOW THE FOLD

The action is taking place today in at least half a dozen of Georgia's more than one hundred state prisons, correctional facilities, work camps, county prisons and other correctional facilities. We have unconfirmed reports that authorities at Macon State prison have aggressively responded to the strike by sending tactical squads in to rough up and menace inmates.

Outside calls from concerned citizens and news media will tend to stay the hand of prison authorities who may tend to react with reckless and brutal aggression. So calls to the warden's office of the following Georgia State Prisons expressing concern for the welfare of the prisoners during this and the next few days are welcome.

  • Macon State Prison is 978-472-3900.
  • Hays State Prison is at (706) 857-0400
  • Telfair State prison is 229-868-7721
  • Baldwin State Prison is at (478) 445- 5218
  • Valdosta State Prison is 229-333-7900
  • Smith State Prison is at (912) 654-5000
  • The Georgia Department of Corrections is at and their phone number is 478-992-5246

This is all the news we have for now, more coming.

One in every thirteen adults in the state of Georgia is in prison, on parole or probation or some form of court or correctional supervision.


Press Release


Thousands of Georgia Prisoners to Stage Peaceful Protest

December 8, 2010…Atlanta, Georgia

Contacts: Elaine Brown, 404-542-1211, ;Valerie Porter, 229-931-5348, ; Faye Sanders, 478-550-7046,

Tomorrow morning, December 9, 2010, thousands of Georgia prisoners will refuse to work, stop all other activities and remain in their cells in a peaceful, one-day protest for their human rights. The December 9 Strike is projected to be the biggest prisoner protest in the history of the United States.

These thousands of men, from Baldwin, Hancock, Hays, Macon, Smith and Telfair State Prisons, among others, state they are striking to press the Georgia Department of Corrections (“DOC”) to stop treating them like animals and slaves and institute programs that address their basic human rights. They have set forth the following demands:
  • A LIVING WAGE FOR WORK: In violation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude, the DOC demands prisoners work for free.
  • EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: For the great majority of prisoners, the DOC denies all opportunities for education beyond the GED, despite the benefit to both prisoners and society.
  • DECENT HEALTH CARE: In violation of the 8th Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments, the DOC denies adequate medical care to prisoners, charges excessive fees for the most minimal care and is responsible for extraordinary pain and suffering.
  • AN END TO CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENTS: In further violation of the 8th Amendment, the DOC is responsible for cruel prisoner punishments for minor infractions of rules.
  • DECENT LIVING CONDITIONS: Georgia prisoners are confined in over-crowded, substandard conditions, with little heat in winter and oppressive heat in summer.
  • NUTRITIONAL MEALS: Vegetables and fruit are in short supply in DOC facilities while starches and fatty foods are plentiful.
  • VOCATIONAL AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES: The DOC has stripped its facilities of all opportunities for skills training, self-improvement and proper exercise.
  • ACCESS TO FAMILIES: The DOC has disconnected thousands of prisoners from their families by imposing excessive telephone charges and innumerable barriers to visitation.
  • JUST PAROLE DECISIONS: The Parole Board capriciously and regularly denies parole to the majority of prisoners despite evidence of eligibility.

Prisoner leaders issued the following call: "No more slavery. Injustice in one place is injustice to all. Inform your family to support our cause. Lock down for liberty!"

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Three and a Half Years for Roger Clement

From today's CBC:
A retired civil servant who firebombed a Royal Bank branch in Ottawa's Glebe neighbourhood in May has been sentenced to 3½ years in prison for arson.

Roger Clement, 58, pleaded guilty last month to arson causing damage and mischief in the May 18 firebombing of the Bank Street bank branch.

The court also sentenced Clement to an additional six months in prison on the mischief charge. However, the judge credited Clement with 5½ months for time already served.

Clement said during his sentencing hearing on Monday that the firebombing was a protest against the bank's connections to the Alberta oilsands and the Vancouver Olympics.

Clement poured gasoline in front of the bank's ATM machines while his accomplices ignited the fuel with a Molotov cocktail before running off.

No one was injured in the fire, which caused an estimated $1.6 million in damage.

Clement expressed regret during the first day of his sentencing hearing on Monday over the inconvenience he caused for the "high cost" of his incarceration. He also expressed regret that he will no longer be able to fulfil his obligations to friends and what's left of his family.

Clement's lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, told the court on Monday that his client was left to care for a mentally ill brother after his mother died, and both his father and sister committed suicide.

He had argued his client should only serve three years because the attack on the branch at Bank Street and First Avenue was out of character and Clement isn't likely to reoffend.

The Crown had been seeking five to six years.