Oh, how the days have flown. Oh, what the days have shown? It is now over two weeks since the raid on Tortuga House, and we are mostly left holding conjecture as to what is going on—the proceedings against us are secretive.
After the injunction (to legally prevent the State from fishing through our belongings) was granted on October 2nd, the court required the government to show probable cause for the search. We anticipated this document and hoped to learn why FBI and NYPD thugs had descended on our house. Instead, we received a document that listed items confiscated from our home during the raid to support the validity of the search warrant that authorized the raid—which included photos taken by the FBI of anarchist stickers, posters, and emergency preparedness items (modeled by a housemate in this YouTube video) we had in the house. The reasoning for such illogic? That the raid is not connected to the arrest of our two housemates in Pittsburgh during the G-20 protests, but rather was spurred by an ongoing federal grand jury investigation—and questions as to the validity of the search can be addressed after any indictments are handed out! Furthermore, the document maintains that the supporting affidavits actually used to authorize the search should remain sealed because “the affidavits here concern an ongoing investigation, and unsealing them would compromise that investigation…[which is] complex and multi-state.”
Our court date on Friday, October 16th, did little to illuminate the matter. Expecting a decision by the judge in regards to the injunction and what was to become of our property, we were instead treated to the comparison of our books (in this case, Anarchy in the Age of Dinosaurs) to baking soda and a chef’s knife. How are these disparate items related, you may ask? As the judge explained, the issue is not the item in itself (baking soda, a knife, a book), but how it’s used—to make crack-cocaine, stab someone, or violate federal rioting laws apparently! The judge also made reference to the pending federal grand jury, ruled that the sealed supporting documents will remain sealed (even though this evidence will be used by the judge in making her decision), and after listening to about two hours of oral arguments, deferred judgment on the injunction until October 26th (but possibly sooner).
So, what we know: There is a pending federal grand jury in the Eastern District Federal Court of New York investigating something—what? We don’t know. We do not know how long it has been going on or if it directly involves us. We do not know what is in the sealed affidavits that are the basis for the search warrants that authorized the raid on our house. We do not know if we will be indicted by this federal grand jury or when. We do not know (although we can guess the answer) if the government will be allowed to search through our things. And so, we give you the condition of the citizen-subject experiencing the thrill of justice under Democracy! We know that we don’t know anything!
Please visit our blog, friendsoftortuga.wordpress.com, for more information and updates. Thank you to everyone who has sent us kind words, financial assistance, and other means of solidarity—it means the world to us.
Love,Tortuga House October 20, 2009