Protesting FBI Supoenas

StopFBI, World Can’t Wait, Veterans for Peace, Answer Coalition and others protested outside the FBI building in New York and other cities.  Protesters braved nasty weather to show support for the activists whose homes and offices were raided in September.

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It was my  job in September to hold that sign facing Broadway, but illness kept me home this time.  I am grateful to those who showed up to support the people who have been subpoenaed to testify at a grand jury and have refused.  At those hearings they would not be represented by a lawyer and they risk being jailed for contempt of court if they do not testify.

Maureen Murphy, one of those subpoenaed wrote today:

“I have been summoned to appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago on January 25. But I will not testify, even at the risk of being put in jail for contempt of court, because I believe that our most fundamental rights as citizens are at stake.

“I am one of 23 anti-war, labor and solidarity activists in Chicago and throughout the Midwest who are facing a grand jury as part of an investigation into ‘material support for foreign terrorist organizations.’ No crime has been identified. No arrests have been made. And when it raided several prominent organizers’ homes and offices on Sept. 24, the FBI acknowledged that there is no immediate threat to the American public.

“The activists who have been ensnared in this fishing net work with different groups to end the US wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, to end US military aid for Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and US military aid to Colombia, which has a shocking record of repression and human rights abuses. All of us have publicly and peacefully dedicated our lives to social justice and advocating for more just and less deadly US foreign policy.”

She concludes:

“The grand jury has been scrapped in virtually all countries and more than half the states in this country. There is a long American history of abusing grand juries to launch inquisitions into domestic political movements, from the pre-Civil War abolitionist movement to labor activists advocating for an eight-hour work day to the anti-war movement during the Vietnam years.

“We have done nothing wrong and risk being jailed because we have exercised our rights to free speech, to organize and hold our government accountable. It is a dark day for America when people face jail for exercising the rights that we hold so dear.”

You can read the full article here.   You can also read Bonnie’s report on this blog about a meeting she attended at which others of this group of activists spoke.

Please note, even in this evening photograph, the green hat of the legal observer who was at this protest.  Once more, I am grateful for these lawyers who observe protest to help insure first amendment rights are respected.

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