FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 25, 2011
Nathan White (202)225-5871
Kucinich Asks Tough Questions About FBI Investigation of Anti-War Groups
“Is it Good Judgment to Direct the Overwhelming Resources of the Federal Government onto Small, Local Groups and Individuals whose Primary Interest is Peace?”
“A federal prosecutor has tremendous power and resources,” wrote Kucinich. “Because of that, he has a concomitant obligation to exercise that power with judgment and discretion. Is it good judgment to direct the overwhelming resources of the federal government onto small, local groups and individuals whose primary interest is peace? Is it good judgment to investigate them under a vague and broad statute whose text and interpretations have changed numerous times over the past decade? Is this really the best use of Department of Justice personnel?”
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has written a letter to Attorney General Eric J. Holder expressing concern about an investigation into antiwar activists in
In September of last year, the FBI raided seven homes and an antiwar office in the
Kucinich’s letter raises two key questions. One, why was an undercover agent assigned to infiltrate groups planning peaceful protests at the 2008 Republican National Convention?
…As early as April of 2008, with the assignment of an undercover agent to infiltrate the meetings of anti-war groups and individuals who were planning protests and demonstrations at the Republican National Convention in
Kucinich asks, “If the justification for that assignment was to determine whether any violent activities were being planned, why was that undercover operation continued after the Convention was over?”
Secondly, Kucinich asks for an explanation for why “small, local groups” are being targeted. He notes the focus of the investigation seems to be that these groups “provided ‘material support or resources’ to foreign terrorist organizations,” which “defies credibility.” He asks Holder why former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, former White House security adviser Frances Townsend and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who have publicly expressed “their support for the Mujaheddin-e-Khalq (MEK), are not being targeted for “material support for terrorism.”
The MEK is an “organization that has been on the foreign terrorist list of the State Department since 1997,” Kucinich notes. Each of these individuals spoke at a rally organized by an international group that lobbies for the MEK.
Kucinich highlights how these leaders have been helping to get the MEK removed from the terrorist list
It has also been reported recently that “the MEK has spent millions of dollars on lobbyists, PR agents and communications firms to build up pressure on Secretary Hillary Clinton to take the group off of the terrorist list.” In [Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project], the Department of Justice, under both your direction and that of Attorney General Mukasey, argued that it was a felony to file an amicus brief on behalf of a foreign terrorist organization, or even to engage in public advocacy on behalf of such an organization, unless that advocacy was totally “independent” of the organization. How do you reconcile those arguments with the total absence of attention paid to lobbying activities in support of the MEK? How do you reconcile that inaction with the apparent overkill that has been directed at the anti-war activists in
Kucinich probably knows the answer but is sending Holder a letter because he wishes to advocate for the activists from a position of power and also hear the answer from Holder himself. This can be presumed because Kucinich asks at one point if the “distinction that justifies the different treatment of these two groups” is simply that one is “composed of prominent people who support the wars conducted by successive administrations” while the other group is “composed of ordinary people who do not.” To anyone following the targeting of these
Thus far, Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA), Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), Rep. David Price (D-NC), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) have all sent letters to Attorney General Eric J. Holder. Holder has not publicly addressed the questions raised by congressional leaders or the movement of people around the country who increasingly agree the Justice Department is unfairly targeting activists.
Back in May, Holder was confronted by some of the targeted activists and their supporters when he came to
Weeks prior, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) invited two activists subpoenaed, Joe Iosbaker and Stephanie Weiner, to write a personal letter that could be submitted into the Congressional record during a House Judiciary Committee debate over reauthorizing provisions of the PATRIOT Act. Their letter provided details on what happened when their home was raided
On Friday, September 24th, our home was raided by the FBI. We were served a warrant indicating that we were under investigation for providing “material support” to “foreign terrorist organizations.” We were also subpoenaed to a grand jury convened for the purpose of this investigation.
Altogether, 25 FBI agents searched our home, starting at 7
As they went through the house, mainly they were interested in any piece of paper with a name and a phone number or email address, what the ACLU’s Mike German has referred to as “associational materials.”
The activists continue to be subject to investigation. In a related case, the FBI is now going after long-time anti-war activist and Chicano leader Carlos Montes.
Over 400 organizations have issued solidarity statements with the targeted activists. Unions representing over 800,000 workers have adopted support resolutions. Numerous street protests have been held since September of last year and petitions continue to net tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of signatures.
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs