Re: (OPE-L) Big Brother is watching you again

From: Howard Engelskirchen (howarde@TWCNY.RR.COM)
Date: Tue Feb 10 2004 - 12:11:26 EST

I've included below a note from the attorney for the NLG who has filed a motion to quash the subpoenas to the effect that the Associated Press news article by Ryan Foley contained in the "Original Message" below requires correction.  

I've also copied the text of the subpoenas as supplied by Nestor.  Articles on the issue have appeared today in the New York Times and the Des Moines Register (  

The Motion to Quash, the Memorandum of Law in Support of the Motion to Quash, and the affidavit of the Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild filed in support of the motion can all be found at the National Lawyers Guild  website -- -- together with an NLG press release.  The affidavit contains a nice review of the history of the nlg on such matters.

All this is extremely serious.  It is something that groups like the AAUP at other schools in the US and elsewhere should notice and express, demonstrate their objections to.


Immediately below is the text of the subpoena received by Drake University.  The scope of the subpoena is startling and its chilling effect obvious.  

Following that is a brief message from Bruce Nestor to the nlg email list correcting the Foley article.


On 11/15/2003, a meeting was held titled, "Stop the Occupation! Bring the Iowa Guard Home!"  A component of the meeting included a non-violence training component with respect to demonstrations. On 11/16/2003, a demonstration was held at the Iowa National Guard headquarters and 12 people were arrested, I believe for trespass. Four other persons have received a subpoena, including the former director of the Iowa Peace Network and members of the Catholic Peace Ministry. One person was charged at the protest for assault on a peace officer, without injury, a serious misdemeanor under Iowa law.

Subpoena to Testify Before the Grand Jury
2/10/2004 at 11:00 a.m.

To:    Drake University

This subpoena requires the production of all records and documents in the possession of Drake University relating to the conference held on November 15, 2003, at the Olmstead Center, Drake University, hosted by "the Drake Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild." This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

1. All records relating to the scheduling of the conference at the Olmstead Center, including all requests for use of a room, all documents indicating the purpsoe and intended participants in the meeting, and all documents or recordings which would identify persons that actually attended the meeting.

2. All records relating to "the Drake Chapter" of the National Lawyers Guild which would identify (a) the officers of the organization in November, 2003, and (b) the current location of any offices occupied by that organization on the Drake University Campus, as well as any meeting agenda or annual reports of this organization filed with the University since January 1, 2002;

3. All records of Drake University campus security reflecting any observations made of the November 15, 2003 meeting, including any records of persons in charge or control of the meeting, and any records of attendees of the meeting.

Bruce D. Nestor
De Leon & Nestor
529 S. 7th Street, #636
Minneapolis, MN  55415
612-288-0546 - Fax

This article s not quite correct. A subpoena has been issued by the Clerk of Court, at the request of the US attorney, but not judge has ordered production of the records. The NLG has filed a Motion to Intervene and Motion to Quash. The return on the subpoena will be postponed and a hearing on the Motion to Quash will be held at a later date.

Bruce Nestor

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: glevy@PRATT.EDU 
  Sent: Tuesday, February 10, 2004 10:45 AM
  Subject: [OPE-L] (OPE-L) Big Brother is watching you again

  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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