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Jan. 25: Stop federal grand jury

By John Catalinotto |
January 22, 2011
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Fight Back News Service is reprinting the following article from Workers World.

New York, NY - A broad group of New York City area organizations have called for a demonstration at the downtown Manhattan FBI offices on Jan. 25 to protest FBI repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists. This protest is one of dozens planned for cities around the U.S. and worldwide.

The groups have also called for a regional solidarity conference on Feb. 12 “to discuss next steps for fighting back against FBI and grand jury repression,” they said in their leaflet.

Revulsion over a Sept. 24 Justice Department-ordered raid on homes and offices, mostly in Minneapolis-St. Paul and Chicago areas, has led to the protest campaign. That day the FBI served subpoenas on 14 people, demanding that they testify before a Chicago grand jury. Those subpoenaed are anti-war organizers or international solidarity activists, mainly with liberation movements in Palestine or Colombia.

In response all 14 people signed a letter, which said they would invoke their Fifth Amendment rights; that is, they would not cooperate with the grand jury. Following these refusals and a series of protests and petitions, the grand jury dropped the original Sept. 24 subpoenas. In December the Chicago grand jury, under the direction of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, issued nine new subpoenas.

Three of the original subpoenas were also reactivated, directed at three women from Minneapolis. The three — Tracy Molm, Anh Pham and Sarah Martin — continue to stand strong against cooperating.

This principled position — no cooperation with what they consider a “fishing expedition” directed at political activists — has won the subpoenaed activists strong support among progressive people around the country and from a broad range of political organizations, anti-war groups and civil liberties’ defenders. Those subpoenaed face possible prison sentences simply for refusing to testify against equally innocent friends and acquaintances, should the grand jury offer them immunity from prosecution.

At a Jan. 10 meeting at the Center for Constitutional Rights’ offices in New York, 20 area groups agreed to call for people to gather on the Broadway side of the FBI offices at 26 Federal Plaza at 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 25. From there, the protesters will march at 6 p.m. to the Justice Department’s offices at 1 St. Andrew’s Plaza on the east side of Foley Square and Centre Street, south of Pearl Street.

In the period since 9/11, the FBI and other police organizations have stepped up repression of the entire Muslim community in the United States. Many people have been framed up by FBI and police informants who set up an entire alleged “terrorist” conspiracy, entrapping people from the community. The current attacks now expand the repression beyond the Muslim community to all anti-war and solidarity activists.

Besides asking people to come out on Jan. 25, the New York groups also suggest that people can show solidarity if they:

  1. Sign the National Petition to Stop FBI Repression of Activists: www.stopfbi.net.
  2. Call President Barack Obama (202-456-1111) and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (202-353-1555) and demand: Stop the repression. Immediately return all confiscated materials. No grand jury proceedings.
  3. Donate at StopFBI.net/donate or mail checks to Committee to Stop FBI Repression, P.O. Box 14183, Minneapolis, MN 55414.
  4. Volunteer time and skills. Organize an event, join a support committee, and help with web design, graphics or many other things.
  5. To get involved with the conference in New York, email [email protected].