[Ppnews] FBI Targeting Palestine Solidarity Activists in New England

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Feb 17 10:00:53 EST 2011


FBI Targeting Palestine Solidarity Activists in New England

On the early morning of February 10, Richard Hugus, a member of the 
New England Committee to Defend Palestine, received a knock on the 
door by a member of the FBI accompanied by a police detective. 
Richard asserted his right not to speak to the agent, who left behind 
a card identifying himself as agent David George. When Richard's 
lawyer called to find out why the FBI was trying to interrogate him, 
the agent replied that they were interested in discussing an article 
Richard had written in 2005/2006 and a letter to political prisoner 
Aafia Sidiqqui.

In light of the recent grand juries that have been convened targeting 
Palestine solidarity and anti-war activists across the country, this 
FBI activity in Boston should come as no surprise. For the NECDP, FBI 
repression is also nothing new. We have experienced repression from 
the FBI and ICE since our inception in 2002, when Amer Jubran was 
arrested by FBI and INS agents who showed up at his door the day 
after our first demonstration and demanded that he cooperate with 
their investigation or face disappearance and indefinite detention. 
"Please the ears of this gentleman," said the INS agent gesturing to 
the FBI, "or we'll let you rot for 50 years."

But while the FBI harassment is nothing new, a few things are worth 
noting about this latest development:

--The FBI openly asserted that it wants to investigate Richard for an 
article he has written.

In the past, we have been used to the FBI and the rest of the 
Homeland Security apparatus manufacturing fake grounds for 
investigating (and later arresting) activists--for such things as 
alleged immigration violations. Over the last few years, the charge 
of "material support for terrorism" has been increasingly used to 
include public advocacy. At the same time, there has been a constant 
public discourse on "violent radicalization" and "homegrown 
terrorism," in which spreading information and expressing opinions on 
the internet have been identified as threats to "security." The idea 
that the FBI would investigate someone for expressing an opinion in 
an article is now normal.

--Richard Hugus is a solidarity activist.

Although the FBI is still primarily targeting Arabs and Muslims with 
its "terrorism" investigations and arrests--with the number of such 
cases rising dramatically since the beginning of the Holder/Obama 
regime--the past year has shown a significant new trend of targeting 
not just Palestinians, but Palestine solidarity activists.

This attention to solidarity activists comes at a moment when 
zionists are increasingly on the defensive. In 2010, officials at the 
"Israeli" Foreign Ministry said that they were considering stopping 
lectures by official representatives around the world because these 
only provide targets for a rapidly growing protest movement. The Reut 
Institute--a prominent zionist think tank--suggested in the same year 
that unless a new strategy were developed against the Palestine 
solidarity movement (including "legal" intervention, e.g. 
repression), "Israel" might soon find itself in the position of being 
an international pariah state. A central strategic recommendation of 
the Reut report was to distinguish between critics of Israeli policy 
and those who are committed to "delegitimizing Israel." They suggest 
that it's important to treat the "critics" as potential allies--and 
give them more room to express themselves--in order to isolate the 
"delegitimizers."

What we are witnessing across the country is an attempt to isolate 
and remove radical voices from the public discussion about Palestine 
in order to reduce their influence within a growing movement. Anyone 
who stands up for the right of Palestinians to resist or who refuses 
to accept the right of "Israel" to exist is in the rifle sight.

Richard Hugus is under investigation because he has used his skills 
as an activist, film-maker and writer to stand up for these 
fundamental truths: oppressed people have the right to fight their 
oppressors; colonized people have the right to take back the land 
that was stolen from them.

As members of the New England Committee to Defend Palestine we give 
full support to these positions:
--The people of Palestine have the right to resist and to reclaim all 
of their historic land from colonization.
--The peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan have the right to resist US 
invasion and occupation by any means necessary.

We will not be silenced and we will not speak to the FBI.



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