IT WAS LIKE CATCHING JOEY HEATHERON IN PUBLIC WITHOUT HER GIRDLE OR MARV ALBERT IN PUBLIC WITHOUT HIS BAD TOUPE. THERE WAS CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O IN PUBLIC WITHOUT HIS RINSE AND WITH SCRAGGLY HAIR.
SOME PRETENDED HE HAD SOMETHING TO SAY BUT THOSE WHO COULDN'T NOTE HOW HAGGARD HE LOOKED REALLY CAN'T BE EXPECTED TO TELL THE TRUTH TO BEGIN WITH.
MEANWHILE TWO OF THE BIGGEST LIARS IN THE CREATION OF BARRY O -- AP AND SHEPARD THE LIAR FAIREY AGREED THEY COULD STILL SQUEEZE SOME GREEN OUT OF THE FAILED AND FADED IMAGE OF BARRY O AND AGREED TO STOP SUING EACH OTHER AND HOP INTO BED ALREADY.
"IT'S ABOUT TIME," SAID MANY OBSERVERS NOTING THE RUMORS THAT SHEP WAS PREGNANT.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting in the US where the Justice Dept is targeting activists. Friday, September 24th FBI raids took place on at least seven homes of peace activists -- the FBI admits to raiding seven homes -- and the FBI raided the offices of Anti-War Committee. Just as that news was breaking, the National Lawyers Guild issued a new report, Heidi Boghosian's [PDF format warning] "The Policing of Political Speech: Constraints on Mass Dissent in the US." Heidi and Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner covered the topic on WBAI's Law and Disorder Radio including during a conversation with Margaret Ratner-Kunstler which you can hear at the program's site by going into the archives and the program has also transcribed their discussion with Margaret and you can read it here. The Lawyer's Guild is an hourly show hosted by Jim Lafferty each Thursday night from 7:00 to 8:00 pm PST on Los Angeles' KPFK. Among his guests last week was Bruce Nestor. Excerpt:
Jim Lafferty: Bruce Nestor is one of the lead attorneys for political activists around the country who've had their homes raided by the FBI recently and, as I said at the top of the show, subpoened to testify before grand juries under some rather suspicious and ominous circumstances. I should mention that Mr. Nestor is a former national president of the National Lawyers Guild and he joins us by phone from Minneapolis, MN of St. Paul, which is it?
Bruce Nestor: Minneapolis.
Jim Lafferty: Minneapolis! Alright, Bruce Nestor, welcome to The Lawyers Guild Show. Bruce, first off, who are your clients? And when I say that, I don't mean by name. But who are they in terms of what their political work was and what is happened to them so far as a result of actions by the FBI, the US Justice Dept? Walk us through where all this began, these raids on home, these subpoenas and so forth.
Bruce Nestor: These events started -- that we were publicly aware of -- although clearly an investigation was going on long before it with home raids on September 24th of last year when political activists in Minneapolis and Chicago had their homes raided, subpoeanas were served and across the country other activists, including in California, were contacted and the FBI was trying to interview them. That group of people has now grown to at least 23 individuals who have either been served with subpoenas or told that they will be served with subpoenas to appear in front of a grand jury being run by Assistant -- by US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in Chicago -- the US Attorney who prosecuted Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney's former Chief of Staff. And so no one yet has appeared in front of the grand jury, everyone has asserted their right to remain silent and their political right not to testify against their friends and colleagues about their political beliefs and activities. But the range of people ranges from people who have been active in the anti-war movement, the labor movement -- many of the activists here in Minneapolis in particular are very -- are members of their labor unions and active in the labor movement, to young people who've just recently traveled to Palestine and the occupied territories as part of Solidarity trips or as part of fact-finding delegations to investigate US policy and how the Palestinian people are resisting occupation. So it - it's really frightening. The stated purpose of the investigation is to investigate material support for terrorism -- a claim that public statements of support for groups abroad as well as humanitarian fund raising in limited amounts constitutes material support for terrorism. And that's being used as a pretext to really go after entire political organizations and large numbers of people.
Jim Lafferty: Yeah. Well we'll get back into that again in a minute but these things, as you've just pointed out, started with-with raids. And I assume they had search warrants. If so, what were they looking for in these raids and what kind of things did they take away?
Bruce Nestor: They took everything. They took baby pictures, they took boxes of documents, computers, cell phones. The range of what they said they were looking for was anything related to contacts with a foreign organization -- some in Columbia, some in Palestine, informations related to people's travels abroad but including information about groups that are active locally. Like, in Minnesota, for instance, they wanted to know how people recruit, how they fundraise, what their membership lists are. And, you know, some of it, they talk about indoctrination and recruitment -- as if this were secret. I mean, some of the money that was being raised here for humanitarian aid was raised by kids at lemon aid stands -- literally selling lemon aid at fifty cents a cup to try to raise money for day care and baby formula in the occupied territories.
Jim Lafferty: (Laughing) That certainly sounds dangerous to me. Listen, I laugh to keep from crying. Maybe I should jump ahead? Well, let me first ask this question. Have any of your clients yet or have any of these 23 people actually testified or agreed to testify before the grand jury?
Bruce Nestor: Nobody has testified before the grand jury. It doesn't appear that people in good conscience are going to be able to do that or will agree to do that. That's, of course, a decision that each individual needs to make. And nobody's been indicted yet. Nobody's been charged. We're now going on three months and people -- A few people got their cell phones back but people don't have their computers back, the antiwar committee doesn't have their computer back with their membership lists and other information on it. It's a very serious investigation.
If you missed that broadcast, you can visit the KPFK archives in the next 54 days to hear it, after that it's gone from the archives. This week on Law and Disorder Radio (aired yesterday on and is broadcasting throughout the country throughout the week -- and which archives at its own website -- all five years of the program and congratulations on five solid years of broadcasting) hosts Heidi Boghosian, Michael Ratner and Michael S. Smith address the issue. Yesterday's snapshot noted their interview with activist and journalist Maureen Murphy who is among those subpoenaed and who states she will not provide testimony. (Murphy is with The Electronic Intifada and I say that only to give them a link -- she does not believe her work with TEI had anything to do with her being subpoenaed.) On this topic, this week they also speak with attorney Michael Deutsch of the People's Law Office in Chicago who is also representing some of the people subpoenaed. Excerpt:
Heidi Boghosian: This past December, we had what seems to be a second wave of subpoeanas following the rash that occurred in September Can you give us a brief summary of what happened?
Michael Deutsch: Towards the end of the summer, the FBI went out with a stack of subpoenas and wound subpoeaning nine additional people in the Chicago area which then makes 23 --14 had been subpoenaed prior -- right at the end of September. And these people who are subpoenaed are all people who are active in Palestinian support work. You know, they're invovled with a group called the Arab American Action Network -- AAAN, or they're part of a group called the Palestinian Support Group, some of them have made trips to the Middle East, others have just been active in the Chicago area and educating people about the situation in Israel and Palestine.
Heidi Boghosian: And are the subpoenas asking for specific documents or, do you think, sort of a general fishing expedition?
Michael Deutsch: Well unlike the first series of subpoeneas which did ask for documents to be produced, these subpoenas only talk about coming to testify. And it seems to me what's going on now, the first group it seemed were people who were directly related to the searches and related in some way to this Freedom Road Socialist Organization. This next wave of subpoenas are people who are not necessarily related to that organization but are people who they are trying to gathering information from. So it's particularly a fishing expedition in terms of gathering information about people's political work and associations.
Michael Ratner: Michael, I don't understand. You mean to say someone gets a subpoena that doesn't even mention a criminal law they're investigating? That they don't --
Michael Deutsch: No. Uh-uh.
Michael Ratner: They just say, like "Michael Deutsch, report to the grand jury to testify"? And doesn't say what about?
Michael Deutsch: It does not say what it's about. It just says: "You're subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury January 25th." It doesn't even say the statute which they're investigating.
Michael Ratner: Have you had any experience in your life with a subpoena like that?
Michael Deutsch: No. I haven't had experience with that and, of course, I've never, in all my experience, seen so many people subpoenaed to a grand jury -- I mean in a political situation. So it really looks to me like they're just relying on any type of relationship to the Palestinian Solidarity Movement to subpoena people to a grand jury. People who went on trips, people who went to demonstrations, people who are active in community work. So it's a very strange development but ominous nonetheless.
Heidi Boghosian: Michael, I'm curious about the midwest region. Now is -- do you think we're seeing so many subpoenas in this area because of the presence of joint-terrorism task forces there? Do you have any explanation?
Michael Deutsch: I don't think it's related to the fact that there's a joint-terrorist task force because there's one in New York and probably one in other places. I think it's because a lot of the Palestine support work has gone on in Chicago and based in Chicago and I would say that the FBI has been around somewhat in New York and in the Bay Area trying to talk to people as well. So the subpoenas may extend to other areas but because one of the main targets of their investigation is the executive director of the AAAN -- the Arab American Action Network -- Hatem Abudayyeh -- they're focusing on him and people who work with him or are part of organizations that he's been part of. And that's who this last wave of subpoenas has really focused on.
The grand jury appearance is coming up. It's Tuesday, January 25th and this is from Stop FBI Repression about the January 25th actions:
In December 2010, under the direction of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the FBI delivered nine new subpoenas in Chicago to anti-war and Palestine solidarity activists. Patrick Fitzgerald's office is ordering the nine to appear at a Grand Jury in Chicago on January 25.
In response we are calling for protests on Jan. 25 across the country and around the world to show our solidarity. Hundreds of organizations and thousands of people will be protesting at Federal Buildings, FBI offices, and other appropriate places, showing solidarity with the nine newly subpoenaed activists, and with all the activists whose homes were raided by the FBI.
Fitzgerald's expanding web of repression already includes the fourteen subpoenaed when the FBI stormed into homes on September 24th, carting away phones, computers, notebooks, diaries, and children's artwork. In October, all fourteen activists from Chicago, Minneapolis, and Michigan each decided to not participate in the secret proceedings of Fitzgerald's Grand Jury. Each signed a letter invoking their Fifth Amendment rights. However, three women from Minneapolis -- Tracy Molm, Anh Pham, and Sarah Martin -- are facing re-activated subpoenas. They are standing strong and we are asking you to stand with them --and with the newly subpoenaed nine activists -- by protesting Patrick Fitzgerald and his use of the Grand Jury and FBI to repress anti-war and international solidarity activists.
Defend free speech! Defend the right to organize! Opposing war and occupation is not a crime!
- Tell Patrick Fitzgerald to call off the Grand Jury!
- Stop FBI raids and repression!
Please organize a local protest or picket in your city or on your campus on Tuesday Jan. 25 and e-mail us at email@example.com to let us know what you have planned.
The Committee to Stop FBI Repression www.StopFBI.net
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 612-379-3585
Here is a flyer you can use for your local protest (pdf). Just fill in the time and location of your local protest, and local contact information if you want.
We have noted this repeatedly and will continue to try to do so. This is an assault on political freedom. When our response is to stay silent, we lose political freedom. (Just as when we participate in a frenzy to demonize political speech, we damage political speech and a lot of people need to be thinking about that right about now.) Marueen Murphy and Nora Barrows-Friedman have a piece at Electronic Infitada about the targeting. Is it the new McCarthyism? Could be. Some would argue we're already there as evidenced by attorney Lynne Stewart being a political prisoner of the United States for the 'crime' of breaking a guideline. Once was a time you went to prison for breaking law, now it just requires breaking a guideline. We'll note Lynne and some other actions at the end of the snapshot. There is a great deal coming up in the next two months.
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