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Vol. 74/No. 48      December 20, 2010

(front page)
Chicago rally slams
new probe by FBI
Militant/Edith Adachi
Protest outside federal courthouse in Chicago December 6 against grand jury subpoenas of three youths who traveled to Palestine.

CHICAGO—More than 100 people picketed outside Dirksen Federal Courthouse here December 6 to protest federal grand jury subpoenas against three antiwar activists. The federal government had previously issued grand jury subpoenas last September against 14 political activists in the Midwest related to their antiwar activities.

Stan Smith, the father of Sarah Smith, one of those recently subpoenaed who could not be at the protest herself, read his daughter’s statement. In it she described being contacted December 3 by an FBI agent who asked to talk to her about a trip she took last summer to Israel and the West Bank. Smith, who is Jewish, made the trip with two Palestinian American friends.

“You would think that Jews and Palestinians going together to visit Israel and Palestine is something that the U.S. government would encourage,” Smith’s statement said. “Instead we are now being ordered by the FBI to go before a grand jury for going on that trip.”

Attorney Jim Fennerty, who represents some of the antiwar activists who were earlier ordered to appear before the grand jury, told WBEZ radio that the U.S. government is “widening the scope of this investigation. They’re trying to squeeze people … who do solidarity work around Palestine.” All 14 who received subpoenas in September, after the FBI raided many of their homes in Chicago, and Minneapolis have refused to testify in front of the grand jury.

Matt Brandon, secretary-treasurer of Service Employees International Union Local 73, told the December 6 rally here, “When people can’t get together and protest without being threatened by arrest or raid or subpoena it’s a sad state of affairs.” He pledged that the union “will not stand by and watch as people are targeted, and people are dragged from their homes, and people’s belongings are taken and they are searched and seized.”
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