Anti-War Activists: "We Have Nothing to Say to a Grand Jury"
Chicago, October 5th, 2010--Five anti-war and international solidarity activists from Chicago and Minneapolis announced Tuesday they are invoking their 5th amendment right to not testify in front of a Grand Jury investigation. Stephanie Weiner, one of those raided and subpoenaed spoke to 150 supporters at a press conference outside the Dirksen Federal Building in downtown Chicago, “This is an attack on the anti-war movement, but the strong response of our movement, where more than 61 protests in cities across the country, makes it absolutely clear that this is about more than just 14 activists in the Midwest. It is an attempt to limit the voice of anti-war, peace, and international solidarity activists.” A similar protest happened at the Minneapolis FBI office.
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The five signed letters to Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Fox. They informed him of their decision to invoke their 5th amendment rights to not testify. One of those subpoenaed to appear today, Meredith Aby of the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee, said, “Our opposition to U.S. war and occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq, our scathing criticism of U.S. government support for repressive regimes and death squads in Colombia and Israel is well known and public. This attempt to criminalize the fourteen of us in the anti-war movement must be stopped. The Grand Jury should be ended. There should be no charges.”
Joe Iosbaker stated, “We have nothing to say to a Grand Jury. Most people do not understand how secretive and undemocratic the Grand Jury is. I am not allowed to have my lawyer with me. There isn’t even a judge. How strange is that? It is the U.S. prosecutor with 23 people they hand picked to pretty much rubber stamp whatever the prosecutor says. A person is defenseless in that situation.”
Jim Fennerty, an attorney working to defend the activists, said, “Assistant U.S. Attorney Fox is cancelling the subpoenas for the five due to appear today. This does not put an end to the Grand Jury investigation however. Fox can reissue subpoenas for new dates or decide to arrest the activists and charge them with crimes.”
Activists organized a successful National Call In Day Monday, with thousands phoning to demand that President Obama and U.S. Attorney General Holder publicly call off the Grand Jury investigation.