Fifty people attended a press conference December 23 to protest the four latest subpoenas issued December 21.
As someone who has been leading the support work around the raids and subpoenas in Chicago, I have seen firsthand that this is not about 23 individuals, said Maureen Murphy, co-chair of the Chicago Committee Against Political Repression. The rights of us all are at stake. Murphy, an activist with the Palestine Solidarity Group here, was issued a summons two days earlier to appear before the federal grand jury in Chicago January 25.
The governments motivation in issuing these subpoenas is to have us name names of other activists, she added, not only here in the U.S. but also places like Palestine and Colombia where many of us have traveled to learn about the human rights situation in those places.
On September 24, in a coordinated raid, more than 70 federal agents burst into the homes of members of political groups in the Midwest, seizing cell phones, computers, and documents. So far no one has been charged with any crime and no arrests have been made.
Others who spoke at the press conference included Murphys lawyer Michael Deutsch of the People's Law Office; Amina Sharif, Council on American Islamic Relations; Kristin Szremski, American Muslims for Palestine; and Joe Iosbaker, whose home was raided by the FBI in September. Iosbaker chaired the conference.
When asked, Whats wrong about going before the grand jury? Deutch explained that the government is given power, without a lawyer being present, to ask a witness about their political activities, who they associate with, what meetings they go to, who is present at those meetings, what was said at those meetings, and what their political beliefs are. These are questions that are private. The government shouldnt be allowed to force you to answer these questions.
The Barack Obama administration is continuing the policies of the Bush administration, Deutch said. Preventive detention, rendition, spying on people. That is all continuing.
Whats happening here is the government is targeting groups that are publicly opposing its foreign policy, he added.
More information on upcoming protest actions is available at the Committee to Stop FBI Repression website at stopfbi.net.
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