USHRN Political Prisoner/State Repression Working Group condemns Fitzgerald, FBI's move to silence, intimidate, lock down human rights activists

Grand Jury Subpeonas, FBI Raids, Are Throw Back to COINTELPRO, US UPR Double Speak

US Human Rights NetworkGreenville, SC, December 23, 2010- U.S. Human Rights Network Political Prisoner/State Repression Working Group (USHRN PP/SR) condemns the 1960's COINTELPRO style raids by FBI agent Robert Parker, ordered by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, made on two Chicago human rights and anti-war activists yesterday. Maureen Murphy, Managing Editor of the widely-read website, The Electronic Intifada, who like the growing number of other individuals served subpoenas, is an organizer with the Palestine Solidarity Group-Chicago.

“These subpoenas, and the September 24th raids earlier this year, where computers to children’s artwork was seized, point to a resurgence of 1960’s and 1970’s COINTELPRO style government manipulation of legal processes and law enforcement abuses designed to contain, control, and crush political dissent, i.e. state repression ." Victims of this misconduct still languish in U.S. prisons today, according to Attorney Efia Nwangaza, Co-leader of the USHRN's Political Prisoner and State Repression Working Group and co-author of the groups's report on Political Prisoners and State Repression submitted to United Nations.

These COINTELPRO type subpoenas threaten 1st and 4th Amendment Constitutional rights and suppress anti-war and social justice activity celebrated by the Federal government in its recent U.S. Universal Periodic Review Report to the UN Human Rights Council's UPR Working Group on November 5th. “This kind of subpoena, served on political activists deemed leaders, to testify before a federal grand jury, were exposed as illegal pretexts against political activists in the U.S. Senate’s 1976 Church Committee FBI Investigation. Such subpeonas are known to have a chilling effect on free speech and are used for fishing expeditions to build non-existent cases, divert movement resources and activities, and rationalize detention of anyone who does not "cooperate" for months,” added Attorney Nwangaza .

The raids and subpoenas reflect the dangerous expansion of guilt by association pervading the Obama-Holder Justice Department's "counter-terror" prosecutions. Under cover of the Patriot Act and 'material support' statute, recently upheld by the U.S. "corporations are persons" Supreme Court (http://ccrjustice.org/holder-v-humanitarian-law-project), is so broadly written that it can, and does, criminalize international peace-building activities whose only connection to "terrorism" is to reduce it. The legistlation, FBI application, and Supreme Court decision highlight the lack of U.S. human rights education, protection, or enforcement mechanisms.

These subpeonas and raids are the latest violations by an unreformed, recidivist agency whose abuses are recurring and which has been repeatedly reprimanded throughout its history. Prior to the September raids, the Justice Department's own Inspector General, Glenn Fine, released a report documenting political surveillance by the FBI (http://www.justice.gov/oig/special/s1009r.pdf) and, within days of that, reported that hundreds of FBI agents, including the head of the Washington field office and several supervisors, cheated on a mandatory test of new procedures employees must follow when conducting investigations of U.S. citizens http://www.justice.gov/oig/special/s100927.pdf). Two critical reports handed down against the FBI in less than a month.

The U.S. Human Rights Network Political Prisoners and State Repression Working Group condemns this attack on anti-war, social justice, and human rights activists in the United States and the growing suppression of dissent and repression of dissidents. We stand in support of these and other activists fighting for peace, justice, and an end to unjust U.S. policies and practices at home and abroad. See U.S. Human Rights Network Reports to the UPR Working Group of the UN Human Rights Council: http://www.ushrnetwork.org/upr_reports.

We encourage participation in the continuing solidarity actions and the call to contact Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General (202-353-1555), and demand that the Department of Justice end its harassment of anti-war, social justice and international solidarity activists, return all materials seized in the raids, and stop the Grand Jury subpoenas.