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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Witch hunt: 2010 vintage


By Staff

Chicago, IL - More than 100 anti-war, labor and solidarity activists rallied and picketed here, Dec. 6. The emergency action was organized by the Chicago-based Committee Against Political Repression after the FBI delivered or declared its intention to give federal grand jury subpoenas to solidarity and anti-war activists in Chicago the week before.

On Dec. 3, the FBI contacted Sarah Smith, a young woman who travelled to Palestine last summer. Though the FBI agent who called Smith said he merely wanted to ask her a few questions, she later found out through a lawyer that she was to be subpoenaed. Sarah’s father, veteran anti-war and solidarity activist Stan Smith, read a statement on Sarah’s behalf and also made his own statement against the harassment of his daughter.

Sarah Smith spoke about her trip to the occupied West Bank and the irony that the U.S. claims to stand for peace but is opposed to Americans travelling to learn the experiences of the Palestinian people. She thanked the Committee Against Political Repression for support in the face of this repression. Stan Smith demanded that the U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and the FBI agent who phoned Sarah apologize to his daughter for this harassment.

Before and after the speeches, people marched in the spirited picket line despite the frigid temperature, chanting “Opposing war is not a crime!”

Stephanie Weiner, one of the 14 activists originally subpoenaed in September, reminded the crowd that three of those activists are awaiting new grand jury court dates. If these women - Sarah Martin, Tracy Molm and Anh Pham, all from Minnesota - refuse to take part in the U.S. Attorney's fishing expedition, they may be held in contempt and jailed in Chicago for the life of the grand jury. If this happens, the women would be held in the Metropolitan Correction Center in Chicago’s Loop.

Protests like the one tonight show that the anti-war movement in Chicago will not be silenced, despite the threats of jail time and the ongoing witch hunt.

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