I once heard a joke by Stephen Fry that stuck with me.
Q: What do lawyers and sperm have in common?
A: A one in a million shot at being human.
Stanley Cohen is that one in a million. Cohen is an activist and human rights attorney. Many of you may be familiar with his work on the PayPal 14 case as counsel for Mercedes Haefer. Others may recognize him from his appearance in We Are Legion.
Stanley Cohen has supported us, and now comes our opportunity to support him. In a recent post on his website Cohen addressed the ongoing investigation on him by the U.S. Department of Justice:
“As many of you know I am currently under indictment in two separate US federal district courts for essentially the same allegation – impeding or obstructing the IRS. It is not a case, as some have stated, of income tax evasion. Although the government denies, it, we know that the investigation began more than 10 years ago when the DOJ began to investigate and tried to charge me with material support for terrorism as a result of my work as an attorney and interntional law advisor for a number of so-called terrorist groups- most prominently Hamas, who I have had the great honor and privilege of working with as an attorney since 1995; it continues through this day. When that witch hunt failed, in came the IRS and for 7 years or so we have battled these allegations at great cost with federal prosecutors in New York and Washington and in the courts. This fight has taken a tremendous amount of effort by my team of lawyers, my family, friends, supporters and clients. It has cost us more than six hundred thousand dollars, a large amount of which is still owed, and hurt my “non-political” practice by scaring off clients. Recently it has interfered with some critical work with various human rights groups and activists overseas and made travel abroad—essential to that effort – impractical. Most important it has taken an increasing toll on my family. After all this time we were on the eve of the first of what promised to be at least two trials in two different districts, possible appeals, and enormous additional expenses. Obviously these trials would have made the work that I love and live for, namely resistance, and support of resistance, ineffective for the foreseeable future.
After painful discussions with my family, friends, supporters and colleagues and clients at home and abroad I have elected to end this particular whitchhunt and harassment, and to do so tomorrow (April 14, 2014).
There is no doubt I have made mistakes which allowed the witchhunt to continue, and to produce a result not imposed against other like persons, but that comes with the turf.
Tomorrow I will plead guilty in the Northern District of New York to impeding the IRS. This plea will cover all outstanding charges and bring an end to this chapter. I will be sentenced likely in about 4-6 months to 18 months in prison – with actual jail time of likely a year. I will lose my law license of 31 years at the time of my sentence but will be able to reapply for it when I end my sentence.
Make no mistake about it, this plea will not change my commitment to truth, justice and resistance. Nor should it be seen as acquiescence to the naive and liberal notion that this government and others and their respective criminal justice systems work or are just. The fight will go on but in different ways. I would expect to spend much of my time in prison working with and assisting the unjustly accused and those prosecuted because of color, class or politics. Perhaps that book will finally be written.
Meanwhile, until my sentence I will continue representing my clients, travelling and speaking out and, hopefully, continue to inspire others to fight on. We all know that there is a cost when you say no, when you refuse to go silently into the night, when you reject he notion of complicity. But the work must go on – there is no choice. Mourn not for me but for the millions of people murdered worldwide because of their race, religion, politics or activism. Mourn not for me but for the millions of stateless people reduced to ‘life’ in refugee camps, or who live under Apartheid and Occupation and who are subjected daily to ethnic cleansing, collective punishment and indefinite detention. Mourn not for me but for the whistle blowers, journalists and dissidents murdered, jailed and exiled because of a belief, a simple vision, a commitment to change.
To those who love or support me, my decision will not matter. To those who hate me, enjoy your smug smile and distorted sentiment, it will not however change the words I have spoken and will speak in the future and the fights I have embraced or those yet to come. To those who do not know me or care, life goes on. Most important to my friends who in some small way have been inspired by my words and work, this is not a loss but a predictable result of a lifetime of resistance. There is a price to pay when you say no. choose wisely and fight the fight. I will have more to say at the time of my sentence but meanwhile all my thanks and love. Up the Rebels.”
We at FreeAnons will continue to support Stanley in any way we can and urge you all to do the same. We salute Mr. Cohen for his resilience, tenacity, and bravery as an activist, attorney and friend of Anonymous. Up the rebels, Stanley. Up the rebels.