[Ppnews] For now, antiwar activists will not be forced to testify

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Oct 13 01:28:52 EDT 2010



For now, antiwar activists will not be forced to testify

By JAMES WALSH, Star Tribune

October 12, 2010

Thistle Parker-Hartog originally was supposed to 
testify before a grand jury in Chicago Tuesday. 
She didn't go. Mick Kelly was scheduled to make 
the same trip next week. Don't bet on it.

In all, 14 antiwar activists and several 
organizations from the Twin Cities and Chicago 
who are being investigated for alleged support of 
terror groups received subpoenas to appear before 
the grand jury this month. All -- including five 
who were to appear last week -- have told the 
U.S. Department of Justice that they are not 
going. Instead, several were among about 60 
people gathered in front of the U.S. Courthouse 
in downtown Minneapolis Tuesday to protest what 
they consider harassment and intimidation because 
they oppose U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and elsewhere.

So far, it seems, the Justice Department has 
acquiesced. All the subpoenas have been canceled, 
according to a Chicago attorney working on the 
case. Instead of being encouraged by the 
inaction, they are left wondering when the other 
shoe is going to fall for a growing number of people under investigation.

"No one knows what will happen. That's sort of 
the problem with all this," Parker-Hartog said. 
"The net is definitely getting wider. We are 
hearing from more of our brothers and sisters 
around the country that they, too, are being looked at."

On Sept. 24, the FBI raided the Minneapolis homes 
of five antiwar activists, including three 
leaders of the Twin Cities peace movement, as 
part of what it called a probe of "activities 
concerning the material support of terrorism." 
The Minneapolis office of an antiwar organization 
was also raided, protest leaders said. Raids were 
also conducted on two homes in Chicago.

No one was arrested in any of the raids.

Computers, cell phones and documents were seized. 
FBI officials said the federal search warrants in 
Minneapolis were related to an ongoing Joint Terrorism Task Force.

The people whose homes and offices were searched 
have denied being involved in any illegal 
activities. Meredith Aby of the Anti-War 
Committee, whose home and offices were raided, 
said Tuesday that the federal government has 
"given itself more power since 9/11. The federal 
government is doing this, I think, because they can do this."

According to the warrants, the FBI is seeking 
travel and financial information regarding the 
Palestinian territories, Lebanon and Colombia.

It is against federal law to provide "material 
support" to organizations that have been defined 
by the U.S. government as terrorist. But 
attorneys argue that the law's interpretation can 
be dangerously broad. Activists are asking: Who 
defines a terror group? What constitutes material support?

Over the past two years, several local men of 
Somali descent have been indicted, and some 
convicted, for providing material support for 
Al-Shabab, an Islamist group fighting for control 
of Somalia. Some traveled to Somalia to fight, 
some recruited fighters, some allegedly provided money.

Those being investigated in Minneapolis and 
Chicago deny doing anything like that in this 
case. What happens next is uncertain. The U.S. 
attorney in Chicago could reissue subpoenas. 
Prosecutors could even grant some of the people 
being investigated immunity to prod them to 
testify. Everything could be dropped.

All that is known for now, said attorney Jim 
Fennerty, is "that nobody is going to appear before the grand jury."

James Walsh • 612-673-7428 
612-673-7428      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

© 2010 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.

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