(OPE-L) Big Brother is watching you again

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Tue Feb 10 2004 - 10:45:15 EST

An OPE-L archives areader suggested that the following would
be of interest to the list./In solidarity, Jerry
Feds Win Right to War Protesters' Records
The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa - In what may be the first subpoena of its kind in
decades, a federal judge has ordered a university to turn over records
about a gathering of anti-war activists.

In addition to the subpoena of Drake University, subpoenas were served
this past week on four of the activists who attended a Nov. 15 forum at
the school, ordering them to appear before a grand jury Tuesday, the
protesters said.

Federal prosecutors refuse to comment on the subpoenas.

In addition to records about who attended the forum, the subpoena orders
the university to divulge all records relating to the local chapter of
the National Lawyers Guild, a New York-based legal activist organization
that sponsored the forum.

The group, once targeted for alleged ties to communism in the 1950s,
announced Friday it will ask a federal court to quash the subpoena on

"The law is clear that the use of the grand jury to investigate
protected political activities or to intimidate protesters exceeds its
authority," guild President Michael Ayers said in a statement.

Representatives of the Lawyer's Guild and the American Civil Liberties
Union said they had not heard of such a subpoena being served on any
U.S. university in decades.

Those served subpoenas include the leader of the Catholic Peace
Ministry, the former coordinator of the Iowa Peace Network, a member of
the Catholic Worker House, and an anti-war activist who visited Iraq in

They say the subpoenas are intended to stifle dissent.

"This is exactly what people feared would happen," said Brian Terrell of
the peace ministry, one of those subpoenaed. "The civil liberties of
everyone in this country are in danger. How we handle that here in Iowa
is very important on how things are going to happen in this country from
now on."

The forum, titled "Stop the Occupation! Bring the Iowa Guard Home!" came
the day before 12 protesters were arrested at an anti-war rally at Iowa
National Guard headquarters in Johnston. Organizers say the forum
included nonviolence training for people planning to demonstrate.

The targets of the subpoenas believe investigators are trying to link
them to an incident that occurred during the rally. A Grinnell College
librarian was charged with misdemeanor assault on a peace officer; she
has pleaded innocent, saying she simply went limp and resisted arrest.

"The best approach is not to speculate and see what we learn on Tuesday"
when the four testify, said Ben Stone, executive director of the Iowa
Civil Liberties Union, which is representing one of the protesters.

Mark Smith, a lobbyist for the Washington-based American Association of
University Professors, said he had not heard of any similar case of a
U.S. university being subpoenaed for such records.

He said the case brings back fears of the "red squads" of the 1950s and
campus clampdowns on Vietnam War protesters.

According to a copy obtained by The Associated Press, the Drake subpoena
asks for records of the request for a meeting room, "all documents
indicating the purpose and intended participants in the meeting, and all
documents or recordings which would identify persons that actually
attended the meeting."

It also asks for campus security records "reflecting any observations
made of the Nov. 15, 2003, meeting, including any records of persons in
charge or control of the meeting, and any records of attendees of the

Several officials of Drake, a private university with about 5,000
students, refused to comment Friday, including school spokeswoman Andrea
McDonough. She referred questions to a lawyer representing the school,
Steve Serck, who also would not comment.

A source with knowledge of the investigation said a judge had issued a
gag order forbidding school officials from discussing the subpoena. ###

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