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Massachusetts forum opposes FBI repression

By Frank Neisser |
January 4, 2011
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Fight Back News Service is reprinting the following article from Workers World.

The house was packed on Dec. 17 in Cambridge, Mass., as a wide spectrum of organizations and activists came out to a forum on the growing menace of FBI repression. The program was organized by the new Boston chapter of the United National Antiwar Committee, along with 17 Boston-area anti-war and social justice organizations, including the International Action Center.

The program featured Meredith Aby, one of several anti-war and international solidarity activists from the Minneapolis area whose home was raided by the FBI on Sept. 24. Aby was subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury that was supposedly investigating “material aid to terrorism” charges. (Details can be found at stopfbi.net.) The program was part of a four-stop New England tour for the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, including two forums in Western Massachusetts and one in Connecticut.

Also speaking on Dec. 17 was Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner, who has been falsely convicted in a targeted attack by the FBI and a campaign by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to smear and take down progressive African-American elected officials. A petition demanding no jail time for Chuck was circulated and can be signed online at iacboston.org.

Kathy Manley and Lynne Jackson of Project Salam spoke of the hundreds of cases of Muslims who have been victims of “preemptive prosecution,” convicted on secret evidence and secret charges and given long prison sentences. Their prosecution has been based on the FBI conclusion that the individuals had the “mindset” or “ideology” to commit or aid terrorism. Information on these cases can be found at projectsalam.org.

Laila Murad described the case of Tarek Mehanna, a respected leader in the Muslim community in Sudbury, Mass., who, after refusing to talk to the FBI about his friends and neighbors, is being locked down in solitary confinement 23 hours a day. His support committee can be contacted at www.freetarek.com.

Nancy Murray of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts described the refocus of law enforcement away from solving crimes and toward using massive databases to data-mine in order to “predict” who will commit crimes and then arresting them. She also reminded the audience that they should not allow the FBI into their homes without a warrant or speak to them without a lawyer.

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