[Ppnews] FBI fishing to intimidate and silence...

Political Prisoner News PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Mar 10 14:06:02 EST 2006

Published: Friday, March 10, 2006
Bylined to: <mailto:features @ vheadline.com>Elena Shore

FBI fishing to intimidate and silence...

New America Media (Elena Shore): A Pomona College 
professor who is an outspoken critic of US policy 
in Venezuela has been questioned by two agents 
from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department 
and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) 
in what he calls an act of intimidation.

The detectives visited Miguel Tinker-Salas during 
his office hours at about 2:40 or 2:45 pm 
Wednesday ... they questioned him for about 20 
minutes in his office at Pomona College in Claremont (Calif).

The detectives identified themselves but their 
names are being withheld at the request of the FBI.

According to Tinker-Salas, the agents told him 
they were interested in the Venezuelan community 
and concerned that it may be involved in 
terrorism. They asked him if he had relationships 
with the Venezuelan embassy or consulate and if 
anyone in the Venezuelan government had asked him 
to speak out about Venezuela-related matters.
    * “They were fishing,” says Tinker-Salas, “to 
intimidate and silence those who have a critical 
analysis of US foreign policy.”

After they left, several students outside 
Tinker-Salas’ office told him the detectives had 
asked them about his background, his classes and 
his politics, and even took note of the cartoons on his door.

Tinker-Salas says the detectives told him this 
was part of a larger policy to interview people 
on various campuses. He does not know if other 
professors have been questioned. He says the 
agents who visited him did not interview the 
other Venezuelan-born professor at Pomona College.

The FBI declined to comment on the incident.

A Latin American and Chicano histories professor, 
Tinker-Salas believes he was targeted as a result 
of his outspoken politics regarding the US policy 
toward Venezuela and Latin America. Tinker-Salas 
was born in Venezuela and is a US citizen, having 
lived in the United States since high school. A 
noted historian and commentator on CNN en 
Español, he has been open about his conditional 
support for the democratically elected government 
of President Hugo Chavez and critical of the US 
attempt to “undermine democracy” in Latin America.

According to the ACLU of Colorado, the FBI’s 
Joint Terrorism Task Force, which operates across 
the country, is violating First Amendment rights 
by equating nonviolent protest with domestic terrorism.

“The FBI is unjustifiably treating nonviolent 
public protest as though it were domestic 
terrorism,” said Mark Silverstein, Legal Director 
of the Colorado ACLU, following the release of 
new documents obtained from the FBI under the 
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on December 8, 2005.

“The FBI’s misplaced priorities threaten to deter 
legitimate criticism of government policy while 
wasting taxpayer resources that should be 
directed to investigating real terrorists.”

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