- An earlier article discussed her case, accessed through
the following link:
- Content from it is repeated below before updating her
status. An innocent woman, she's one of many victims of US state terrorism,
in her case for courageous environmental activism. Her web site provides
more information, accessed through the following link:
- Her Case
- On March 30, 2006, she was arrested, then falsely accused
of being a lookout in connection with a 2001 arson at the University of
Washington Center for Urban Horticulture.
- In fact, she's a California resident, a professional
musician, violin teacher, and mother of a young child. Yet, she was bogusly
indicted, then reindicted with other defendants on May 10, 2006, including
charges of using a destructive device, carrying a mandatory 30 year sentence
- On December 26, 2007, her lawyers filed a motion, accusing
the Justice Department of concealing vital exculpatory information as well
as producing a fraudulent FBI report. The agency commonly uses bogus "evidence,"
getting manipulated/paid informants to affirm it. Nonetheless, a hostile
federal judge denied defense's motion. Moreover, he ruled against letting
his expert rebut government "evidence," claiming a delayed incendiary
device was a bomb.
- Expressing outrage, one Waters attorney said:
- "The government hand-pick(ed the) judge (and) manipulat(ed)
court procedures. This is a classic case of a corrupt prosecution, and
a judge who apparently (chose) to look the other way."
- It's unsurprising at a time two-thirds of all federal
judges are from or affiliated with the extremist Federalist Society. It
advocates rolling back civil liberties; ending New Deal social policies;
opposing reproductive choice, government regulations, labor rights and
environmental protections; as well as subverting justice in defense of
- As a result, Waters was disadvantaged at trial, begun
on February 11, 2008. She was further jeopardized by an indictment based
on testimonies of two co-defendants. In return for leniency, they copped
a plea and agreed to cooperate, knowing an innocent woman would be harmed.
- As a result, on March 6, she was convicted on two arson
counts, but jurors deadlocked on more serious charges of a destructive
device and conspiracy. Despite prosecution claims, no devices were found
nor was evidence of conspiracy proved.
- At issue is willful Justice Department (DOJ) fraud and
deceit, falsifying evidence, then lying to jurors about it. In America's
war on terror, it's common practice to indict, convict and imprison innocent
people for political advantage. Many others like Briana have been harmed.
- In her case, circumstantial evidence was crucial, including
a folder containing radical pamphlets with an alleged note she wrote. She
categorically denied it or its views. DOJ attorneys claimed otherwise.
- Her attorneys also said she knew nothing about the materials.
They were, in fact, substituted for others she put in the folder, and her
fingerprints weren't on the alleged incriminating ones for proof.
- Civil rights attorney Ben Rosenfeld said the "government's
case was primarily based on character assassination, guilt by association,
(and that) evidence of other people's writings should never have been allowed
to be used against her."
- He also denounced former Attorney General Gonzales for
using the media to pronounce Waters guilty after her indictment. As a result,
he harmed her chances at the outset, showing convictions matter more than
justice, especially on charges of terrorism or conspiracy to commit it.
- Throughout her ordeal, Waters steadfastly maintained
her innocence. On February 11, 2008, her trial began, prosecutors claiming
she was a dangerous environmental terrorist willing to commit crimes, despite
no incriminating evidence. According to her Neil Fox/Robert Bloom defense
- "Not only has Briana Waters pleaded not guilty,
she is not guilty....She is completely innocent, not involved in this or
any other arson. The government's proof is what is on trial. The government
must prove (its charges) beyond a reasonable doubt....Ms. Waters is innocent
not because of some technicality, but because she was not involved with
this group of people in any arson, in any discussion of arson....that's
not what happened."
- Nonetheless, on March 6, 2008, jurors convicted her of
two arson counts, exonerating her on three others. On June 19, 2008, she
was sentenced to six years imprisonment and ordered to pay $6 million in
restitution. Commenting, attorney Bloom said:
- "Prosecutors used scare-mongering to get the jury
to convict an innocent person. This is really a study in American prosecution.
It was an absurdly slanted" case against an innocent, victimized woman.
- She appealed, and on September 15, 2010, the US Court
of Appeals, Ninth Circuit overturned her conviction, ordering a new trial
after ruling proceedings against her were riddled with judicial errors.
In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel said:
- "While the evidence against Waters may have been
sufficient to sustain her conviction, our review of the record does not
leave us convinced that her conviction was fairly obtained."
- Writing for the panel, Judge A. Wallace Tashima said
prosecutors made a "number of errors," including letting jurors
review "highly prejudicial" articles, alleging Waters gave them
to another defendant, who copped a plea for leniency.
- He continued:
- "We believe that the appropriately skeptical eye
would have excluded the articles from (her) trial. (They) were highly prejudicial.
While most espoused anarchist political theory, a number advocated violence
in no uncertain terms," including attacks on US landmarks. "Their
repugnant and self-absored embrace of destruction is likely to have swayed
jurors' emotions, leading them to convict Waters not because of the facts
before them but because she represents a threat to their own values."
- During trial, prosecutors also prevented defense attorneys
from showing jurors a documentary she worked on supporting nonviolence,
thus "compounding errors" against her, "depriving her of
her opportunity to demonstrate that her purported belief in nonviolence
- Waters Reindicted
- Attorney General Eric Holder has proved as callously
outrageous as Ashcroft, Gonzales and Mukasey, pursuing wrongful/vindictive/shameless
prosecutions for political advantage against innocent victims like Waters.
Moreover, they persist even when courts overrule them.
- As a result, on January 26, Waters was reindicted on
nine counts, including:
- -- conspiracy to commit ecoterrorism and defraud America;
- -- possessing an unregistered firearm;
- -- arson of a building used in interstate commerce or
activity affecting it;
- -- using a destructive device during a violent crime;
- -- arson of a building belonging to an institution getting
- Her scheduled trial date is June 27, 2011, a date possibly
delayed until later.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays
at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs
are archived for easy listening.