September 23, 2012

Letter to Eric Holder and Gary Shapiro

[Letter to Holder and Shapiro.pdf](“

**Eric Holder, Attorney General United States of America**
**Gary Shapiro, Acting U.S. Attorney Northern District of Illinois**

September 20th, 2012

Dear Sirs,

We, the undersigned, are a group of elected officials, educators, and labor, community and religious activists. Each, in our own way, have been involved for many years in the fight for human rights and equality for people of the United States and throughout the world.

We write to you to request that your continuing criminal investigation, now going on for over two years, into the First Amendment protected activities of anti-war and international solidarity activists be terminated and that your office make a formal announcement of this determination.

As you are aware, the homes of nine activists were raided by the FBI in September of 2010, and their personal property was seized, including thousands of books, pamphlets, photographs and other materials, all protected by the First Amendment. The search warrants authorizing these raids falsely alleged that the families targeted were involved in providing material support for terrorism.

Over the course of the next several months, twenty three teachers, students and supporters of justice for the people of Palestine and Colombia, including the nine whose homes were raided, were subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury impaneled in the Northern District of Illinois. Each of the people subpoenaed refused to testify, asserting their constitutional rights and stating that they believed that the government was using the grand jury to chill the exercise of their political right to question U.S. foreign policy.

Two years have passed, ample time for the government to fully investigate any allegations of criminal conduct by any of the people targeted, yet the investigation and chilling effect on political freedom continues. The people subpoenaed suffer under a cloud of unresolved government accusations and fear of criminal charges, which unjustly impairs their right to be politically active and criticize government policy.

It’s well past time for this investigation to end. Several months ago, your office announced that Goldman Sachs would not be indicted as a result of your investigation into their conduct, and last month you also announced that no-one would be indicted for the torture of captured Afghan militants. It would behoove you, under any standard of fairness, to now announce the end of your investigation of the people whose homes were raided two years ago and who were subpoenaed to your grand jury.


(Organizations are listed for identification purposes only)

**Ali Abunimah**, author and journalist, Chicago
**Suzanne Adely**, Legal Fellow, United Auto Workers, NY
**Beena Ahmad, Deborah Diamant, Gabriela Lopez, Scott Paltrowitz, Lorna Peterson, Eileen Weitzman, National Lawyers Guild** – Muslim Defense Project
**Bina Ahmad**, NYC Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild
**Fahd Ahmed**, Legal and Policy Director, Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), Queens, NY
**Rev. Luis Alvarenga**, Chicago
**Dale Asis**, Community Organizer, Chicago
**Abed A. Ayoub, Esq.**, Legal Director, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Washington DC
**Dr. Ghassan Baraka**t, Chairman, Humanitarian Relief Foundation, Bridgeview IL
**Dr. Hatem Bazian**, Chair, American Muslims for Palestine; Lecturer, UC Berkeley; Co-Founder, Zaytuna College
**Jennifer Bing**, National Coordinator, Middle East Peacebuilding Program, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Chicago
**Christine Boardman**, President, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73,
**Fr. Robert Bossie**, Priests of the Sacred Heart – USA, Chicago
**Matt Brandon**, Secretary-Treasurer, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73, Chicago
**Colette Burke**, activist, Chicago
**Jerry Clarito**, Executive Director, Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE), Chicago
**Cindy Cohn**, Legal Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation, San Francisco
**Reverend Dan Dale**, Pastor, Wellington Ave. United Church of Christ, Chicago
**Professor Seif Dana**, WI
**Warren David**, President, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Washington DC
**Sr. Kathleen Desautels**, SP-Justice Promoter for the Sisters’ of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, IN at the 8th Day Center for Justice
**Professor Bernardine Dohrn**, Chicago
**Anam El-Jabali**, human rights activist, IL
**Nina Farnia**, Board of Directors, National Lawyers Guild, San Francisco/Bay Area
**Jesus “Chuy” Garcia**, 7th District Commissioner, Cook County of Illinois
**Abder R. Ghouleh**, President, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Chicago Chapter
**Amani Ghouleh**, Journalist, Oak Lawn IL
**Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle**, Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP), Chicago
**Angelique Gonzáles**, Executive Director, SOUL School of Unity & Liberation
**Ann Halloway**, community activist, IL 
**Abdel Hamayel**, community activist, IL
**Awad Hamdan**, National Programs Director, American Muslims for Palestine, Bridgeview IL
**Lily Haskell**, former Director, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, San Francisco
**Sonia Hassan**, community activist, Chicago
**Ian Head**, National Lawyers Guild
**Cherrene Horazuk**, President, AFSCME Local 3800, Minneapolis MN
**Joshua Hoyt**, Chief Strategy Executive, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), Chicago
**Rafeeq Jaber**, Midwest Coordinator, Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA), Bridgeview IL
**Michael James**, 49th Ward Democratic Party President, City of Chicago
**Ricardo Jimenez**, Alejandro Luis Molina, Michelle Morales, National Boricua Human Rights Network
**Charlotte Kates**, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network; National Lawyers Guild
**Nada Khader**, Executive Director, WESPAC Foundation
**Lara Kiswani**, Executive Director, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, San Francisco
**Jeanne Kracher**, Executive Director, Crossroads Fund, Chicago
**Jeremy Lahoud**, Community Organizer, CA
**Cristina Lee**, National Lawyers Guild
**Doris Lewis**, African Americans Against the War in Iraq, Chicago
**Monami Maulik**, Executive Director, Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), Queens, NY
**Rev. Michael McConnell**, Regional Director, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Chicago
**Rev. Loren McGrail**, Chicago
**Jeanne Mirer**, International Association of Democratic Lawyers 
**Joe Moore**, 49th Ward Alderman, Chicago City Council
**Zakiyyah S. Muhammad**, African Americans Against the War in Iraq, Chicago
**Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid**, Board Chair, Parliament of World Religions
**Jumana Musa**, Human Rights Attorney and Deputy Director of the Rights Working Group (RWG), Washington DC
**Rev. Errol Narain**, Pastor, Trinity Episcopal Church
**Prexy Nesbitt**, Adjunct Professor, History Department, Columbia College, Chicago
**Camille Odeh**, past Executive Director, Southwest Youth Collaborative, Chicago
**David Orr, Clerk**, Cook County of Illinois
**Jackson Potter**, Staff Coordinator, Chicago Teachers Union (CTU)
**Professor Barbara Ransby**, Chicago
**Carl Rosen**, President, Western Region of the United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE), Chicago
**Rebeccah Sanders**, Executive Director, Chicago Cultural Alliance (CCA)
**Azadeh Shahshahani**, President-Elect, National Lawyers Guild, Atlanta GA
**Dick Simpson**, former Alderman, Chicago City Council
**Newland Smith**, Episcopal Peace Fellowship-Chicago Chapter
**Kristin Szremski**, Director of Media and Communications, American Muslims for Palestine, Bridgeview IL
**Ayoub Talhami**, Professional Engineer, Evanston IL
**Ghada Talhami**, Professor Emerita, Lake Forest College, Lake Forest IL
**Edward E. Thompson**, Ph.D., Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy
**Rev Robert V Thompson**, Atlanta GA
**Paul H. Verduin**, Co-Chair, Sabeel DC Metro, Washington DC
**Rev. Dr. Donald E. Wagner**, National Director, Friends of Sabeel: North America, Chicago
**Garrett Wright**, President, NYC Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild 
**John W. Zeigler**, Director, Msgr. John Egan Urban Center, DePaul University