In a totalitarian state, dissent = terrorism

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If this isn't police state behavior, I don't know what is. Lifted from Kos, go there for more info. The FBI-Joint Terrorism Task Force is asserting a right to compel peace activists (including the Catholic Peace Ministry in Des Moines) to appear before a secret grand jury without a lawyer.

Yesterday, February 3, Detective Jeff Warford of the Polk County Sheriff's Office-FBI-Joint Terrorism Task Force came to Catholic Peace Ministry's office here in Des Moines with a subpoena for me to testify before a Federal Grand Jury next Tuesday, February 10. Mr. Warford also served papers on Elton Davis at the Catholic Worker House and Patti McKee, who was coordinator of Iowa Peace Network until last month. The Grand Jury process is shrouded in secrecy. We do not know who or what the object of this investigation may be, beyond "possible violations of federal criminal law in the Southern District of Iowa."

The proceeding will be behind closed doors. We may not have an attorney present. We have the right to plead the Fifth Amendment, refusing the answer questions that might incriminate us. The government, then, can offer us immunity from prosecution, in which case we will obliged to answer under threat of contempt of court and could be imprisoned for the length of the Grand Jury session, 18 months, should we continue to refuse to answer. This immunity would be limited to our own testimony and anything any of us say could be used against the others.

Whatever is going on, this is definitely an escalation on the part of the government's war on dissent and clamp down on civil liberties. The fact that anything that we three and the peacemaking communities we represent could possibly attract the notice of a "Terrorism Task Force" is reprehensible. Please spread the word, express concerns you have with Federal and Polk County authorities. Keep us in mind and prayer.

Brian Terrell
Executive Director
Catholic Peace Ministry

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Via Talk Left, I learn that the government seems to be backing down a bit on the whole peace activism... Read More


The only thing I'm surprised about in this case is that they're going after a religious organization. I just assumed they were exempt under this administration.

No, only the pro-war/pro-tax-cut ones are exempt I think. Where's the Pope when he's actually on the right side of something? Busy worrying about homos and abortion I guess.

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