[Ppnews] FBI visits David Pellow (Scott’s Demuth's advisor) and others

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu May 13 10:55:50 EDT 2010

FBI visits David Pellow (Scott’s advisor) and others

Recently, the FBI visited David Pellow, Scott’s 
advisor. David has been a vocal supporter of 
Scott and of academic freedom. When the FBI got 
wind of a freedom-loving individual in town, they 
just had to come a knockin’. David decided not to 
speak to them­and that’s good! Remember, never 
speak to the FBI or any law enforcement officers. 
Speak to your lawyer instead.

The FBI has also visited two other people 
recently and attempted to question them about 
Scott. Have we mentioned that it’s never a good idea to talk to the feds?

If you’re visited, remember not to talk to them 
but to your lawyer. And let us know too at 
scottandcarrie [at] riseup [dot] net.

Below is a statement from David:

“Scott DeMuth is one of my advisees here at the 
University of Minnesota. He is a bright, hard 
working graduate student who has become ensnared 
in a federal investigation that has left him with 
the possibility of facing several years in jail 
related to conspiracy and terrorism charges (his 
trial begins this fall). The federal government 
is building a case against him because they 
believe he has knowledge of at least two Animal 
Liberation Front actions that occurred in Iowa 
and Minnesota in 2004 and 2006, respectively. The 
U.S. Attorney prosecuting the case has also made 
it clear that he believes Scott is guilty because 
he is an anarchist and is believed to be 
associated with activists who are earth and 
animal liberation advocates. Scott has indeed 
worked to educate the public about issues 
concerning eco-prisoners and other political 
prisoners in the United States. He has also 
worked for years advocating for the rights of 
Dakota peoples, who have been dispossessed of 
their homelands by military force. And he has 
done impressive sociological research on these 
social movements and presented his work at 
professional conferences. He and I have recently 
begun collaborating on a research project that 
focuses on many of these issues. So when the 
government came knocking on my door I took notice.

“Monday, April 6, 2010: This morning when I 
arrived at my place of employment­the University 
of Minnesota­I went straight to my mailbox. There 
was the usual pile of academic junk 
mail­catalogues from publishers, invitations to 
receptions, etc. But there was something else 
this time: a business card with a post-it 
attached to it that read: “re: student, Pellow, 
04/06/10, 9:15am.” The business card was for a 
Steve Molesky, Special Agent, Federal Bureau of 
Investigation, Minneapolis Division. He also left 
a voice message for me in my office that stated 
that he wanted to “interview” me in the next day 
or so. He didn’t say about what, but the post-it 
from the receptionist offered an indication (“re: student”).

“I immediately called several trusted lawyer 
colleagues, read the NLG’s “Operation Backfire” 
guide, and spoke with activists here in the Twin 
Cities community, all of whom suggested I not 
talk to the feds. My view on the matter is that I 
am Scott’s advisor and as such, I should be 
looking out for him and advocating for him, so 
talking to people who are trying to build a case 
against him is probably not in his best interest. 
One person also pointed out that given Assistant 
U.S. Attorney Clifford Cronk’s characterization 
of me during Scott DeMuth’s arraignment in 
November 2009 as someone who left him a voice 
mail message protesting Scott’s detention and 
criticizing grand juries, it’s likely that they 
already have formed a certain opinion of me. One 
of my lawyer colleagues told me that by law I 
have the right not to talk to the FBI, but if I 
do then be courteous. My own attorney added that 
if they persist then I might ask them to send me 
their questions in written form and that I would run them by counsel.

“Wednesday, April 8, 2010: Agent Molesky called 
my home phone today and left a message that 
clearly was directed toward asking questions 
about Scott’s research and my own research. He 
stated: “I’d like to ask you a couple of 
questions about one of your students you are the 
advisor for at the University, Scott DeMuth. I’d 
like to ask you a couple of questions about the 
research that you do and the research that he 
does for you.” I then followed up with a request 
for a detailed list of questions.

“Thursday, April 9, 2010: Agent Molesky replied, 
‘I recognize and understand your request, 
however, I will probably be unable to satisfy it; 
not because I don’t want to but because I can 
not. I have been asked to interview you by our 
office in Cedar Rapids, IA. With their request 
they did not include a specific list of 
questions. When we conduct interviews, it is more 
an art than a science, meaning that except for a 
few questions, I never have scripted questions 
for an interview–the answers, demeanor, and 
posture of the interviewee normally dictate the 
questions I ask and the direction in which the 
interview moves.’ He continued, ‘I will be asking 
you about any human research studies that you are 
conducting in which Scott DeMuth may be 
participating as study personnel. I will also be 
querying you on your contacts and relationship 
with Peter Young that may be relevant to the DeMuth investigation.’

“After receiving Agent Steven Molesky’s email 
message today, I spoke with my attorney and we 
decided that Molesky was firmly within the realm 
of infringing upon academic freedom. Thus I have 
decided not to grant the interview request. To 
speak to Agent Molesky about my research at the 
level of detail indicated above would very likely 
violate the American Sociological Association’s 
Code of Ethics, which states: ‘Sociologists have 
an obligation to protect confidential information 
and not allow information gained in confidence 
from being used in ways that would unfairly 
compromise research participants, students, 
employees, clients, or others.’ ‘Confidential 
information provided by research participants, 
students, employees, clients, or others is 
treated as such by sociologists even if there is 
no legal protection or privilege to do so.’ 
(Section 11.01). The Code of Ethics also states, 
‘Sociologists do not disclose confidential, 
personally identifiable information concerning 
their research participants, other recipients of 
their service which is obtained during the course 
of their work.’ (Section 11.06).

“I appreciate Agent Molesky’s polite and cordial 
approach to this process, but I cannot and will 
not violate the trust relationship that I have 
with my advisee and colleague Scott DeMuth and 
with the participants in my research study.

“- David N. Pellow, Professor of Sociology, University of Minnesota”

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