Sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Bloomington-Normal Coalition for Peace and Justice (BNCPJ), Joe Iosbaker will speak this upcoming Sunday on the FBI targeting of peace activists.
The talk will be held Sunday, February 3rd, 3 pm, at the Unitarian-Universalist Church (1613 E. Emerson, Bloomington, IL). Take note that the 3 pm is one hour earlier than usual BNCPJ events.
The recent article in The Nation magazine, David Shiplers’ “Will Obama the Constitutional Lawyer Please Stand Up,” highlights at one point the repression faced by these activists as one terrible violation of civil liberties under the Obama Administration:
But first the terrible things, [violations of civil liberties under Obama], would have to become known, and they would have to be perceived as terrible. One ongoing investigation has that potential. In 2010, the FBI raided the homes of seven antiwar activists in Chicago, Grand Rapids and Minneapolis, carting off boxes of personal letters, children’s drawings, computers, political posters and other materials. FBI agents questioned other leftists in Michigan, Wisconsin, California and North Carolina, and served grand jury subpoenas on a total of twenty-three people, at least some of whom had traveled to the Middle East to meet with a Palestinian women’s group possibly linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and to Colombia to meet with FARC (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), which are both on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations. All those people subpoenaed refused to testify, citing their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
At issue may be the vaguely worded federal prohibition against providing “material support” to foreign terrorist groups. In 2010, the Supreme Court upheld the law as constitutional when it criminalizes speech that is being coordinated with such organizations—even if it takes the form of advice on using nonviolence and respecting international law. No indictments have been brought as of this writing, but at least eleven members of Congress, sixty-two Minnesota legislators and various labor union leaders have already warned the FBI about the specter of a political prosecution.