The Tampa 5 - Gia Davila, Lauren Pineiro, Laura Rodriguez, Jeanie K, and Chrisley Carpio
By Committees of Correspondence for Democracy & Socialism
The Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism condemn the new subpoenas issued to seven peace and solidarity activists to appear on January 25, 2011 before a special federal grand jury sitting in Chicago. We urge Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama to direct U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald to disband the grand jury and direct the FBI to return everything confiscated in raids last September on the homes of 14 activists to their rightful owners. These vague grand jury subpoenas served by the FBI and their seizure of personal computer hard drives, disks, cell phones, files and boxes of papers and personal possessions stretching back for 30 years are a violation of the most basic democratic rights.
This so-called “investigation” is nothing more than a witch hunt, McCarthy style, aimed at tarring with the brush of “material support for terrorism” anyone who opposes U. S. support for terrorist regimes such as that in Colombia, or the terrorism being unleashed continually by the government of Israel against the people of Gaza and the West Bank in Palestine. The FBI’s stated claim that this is an investigation of support for terrorism is simply not credible. The goal is to cast a cloud of “guilt by association” around and over the heads of those targeted, warning all to stay away from them or be caught up in this dragnet operation. The goal of the operation is to sow suspicion and divisions in the peace movement. This witch hunt is threatening the democratic and Constitutional rights of all Americans.
The people they have targeted are well known and respected in the left and progressive community. They are peace workers, solidarity activists, student organizers and trade union leaders. They are from the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, the Arab American Action Network, Students for a Democratic Society, and other left and progressive organizations. Some of them are also advocates of socialism, as is our organization, which, far from being a crime in our country, is a worthy goal shared by growing numbers of Americans. A majority of Americans are now critical or in open opposition to the wars and occupations being carried on today in Iraq, Afghanistan and the West Bank and Gaza. Most people support the human rights of workers trying to organize in Colombia. It is this pro-peace majority that is the bull’s eye of these attacks.
Americans learned bitter lessons from the FBI’s COINTELPRO repression in the 1960s, and won a number of legal and political battles to curb it in the future. Many of us warned against the undue undermining and attempts to reverse that progress that were implicit in much of the post 9/11 ‘Patriot Act.’ One of President Obama’s campaign pledges was to put a halt to that regression. Unfortunately, it appears that his administration has decided otherwise, and a price will be paid in weakening the unity of the progressive majority needed to fight for anything positive on his agenda.
We urge our members and supporters to sign onto the petitions and the Open Letter from Professors and Academics addressed to AG Holder and President Obama at http://www.stopfbi.net/petition. We urge our members to get involved and come out for the actions around the country listed at http://www.stopfbi.net/take-action/upcoming-protests protesting this witch hunt.