Allison Lance-Watson Called Before the Star Chamber Once AgainIn 2002, Allison Lance-Watson (the wife of Sea Shepherd President Paul Watson) was subpoenaed to appear before a Grand Jury in Seattle. She did so despite the fact that the Federal Prosecutor refused to state why the subpoena was issued or even if she was a target of an investigation.
She was ordered to provide fingerprints and hand-writing exemplars and to appear before a Grand Jury. She traveled to Seattle to do so where they took fingerprints and said she could go.
She was subpoenaed again and told to go to the Federal building in Los Angeles to provide hand-writing exemplars. She appeared, but the Federal agents refused to proceed according to the law. She was asked to write out words and letters without being given written or typed words or letters to copy. She refused and was allowed to depart. She was still not told what the point of the exercise was. That was over a year ago.
Allison did not hear anything further until she was subpoenaed in August to appear before the Grand Jury again in Seattle on September 10, 2003. She did so and was once again asked by Federal Agents to supply hand-writing exemplars. This time Allison had her lawyer Stuart Sugarman in attendance. The agents complied with the proper procedures and she was allowed to copy from written documents.
Allison then appeared before the Grand Jury and pleaded her rights under the Fifth Amendment because she still was not told why she was brought before the Grand Jury. She has not been charged with any crime. She has not been informed that she is a suspect in any crime.
Prior to the Grand Jury Appearance, Federal prosecutor Andrew Friedman threatened Allison by saying that he knew she had committed crimes and they would go "softer" on her if she gave up names of accomplices.
The problem is that Allison is not aware of committing any crimes and has no idea of what names that the prosecutor wanted to her to provide.
At the same time she was told she was not a suspect, but that if she did not cooperate she could be charged with a crime, or crimes.
So is she or is she not a suspect? She is being told that she is not a suspect, but she could be a suspect if she refuses to cooperate on an investigation that she has not been made privy to.
This sounds like the old medieval practice of throwing a witch into the water. If she drowned she was considered innocent and if she survived she was considered guilty and burnt at the stake.
During questioning, Allison was told she was facing 5 years in prison if she did not cooperate, yet she does not even know why she is being asked to cooperate or with what.
Therefore Allison had no choice but to plead the Fifth on every question asked although the only questions asked was where she lived and where she worked. She cannot be expected to cooperate with an inquisition.
These Federal Grand Juries have no place in a democracy. In Britain they were called "Star Chambers" and they have long been outlawed.
What right does the Federal Government have to bring a citizen before a tribunal without charges, without informing them that they are a suspect in a crime, and without telling them what the reason is for the questioning? This smacks of totalitarian measures and has no place in the Republic of the United States of America.
Allison believes that she must resist the Grand Jury and that she should not be interrogated without being given a reason why.
She has been ordered to reappear before the Grand Jury on October 8, where she will be interrogated again. This time the Federal Prosecutor will be armed with a Federal Court order that will force her to answer questions.
Allison has decided that she has no obligation but to stand up as an American citizen to this tyranny and she is demanding to know just what it is the Federal authorities want of her and why.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society believes she is being targeted for blocking a Makah harpoon in May of 1999. She was charged with interfering with the Makah whale kill, but the charges were dropped when the Federal government began to lose on charges brought against other defendants in the Makah cases.
This is the only time that she has been involved in a campaign where she had a conflict with the law.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society stands solidly behind Allison Lance Watson who has been fighting for animals for over 15 years. The Society is well aware that the Federal government is using the Homeland Security Act to target environmentalists and animal rights activists and we consider it outrageous that tactics devised for fighting terrorist groups like Al Queda are being used against American citizens who are championing the environment and animals.