University ordered to produce records of antiwar activists


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Andrew Rothman
February 8, 2004, 03:50 PM
http://www.startribune.com/stories/484/4364398.html

University ordered to produce records of antiwar activists
Ryan J. Foley, Associated Press

Published February 8, 2004



DES MOINES -- 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 antiwar activists.

In addition to Drake University, subpoenas were served last 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 organization that sponsored the forum.

The group, accused of ties to communism in the 1950s, announced Friday that it will ask a federal court to quash the subpoena on Monday.

"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.

Representatives of the guild and the American Civil Liberties Union said they had not heard of such a subpoena being served on any university in decades.

Those served 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 antiwar activist who visited Iraq in 2002.

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 antiwar 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 said 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 not guilty, saying she simply went limp and resisted arrest.

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 meeting."

Officials of Drake, a private university with about 5,000 students, refused to comment.


© Copyright 2004 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.

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TarpleyG
February 9, 2004, 10:43 AM
As much as I hate these anti-war hippies, they are still entitled to thier right to privacy. This is ridiculous.

GT

ReadyontheRight
February 9, 2004, 10:57 AM
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

:scrutiny:

Gray Peterson
February 9, 2004, 11:23 AM
1st amendment is dead. It was declared dead by the Supreme Court in McConnell v. Federal Elections Commission last year.

Jonesy9
February 9, 2004, 11:29 AM
left wing agitators are fair game.

Sindawe
February 9, 2004, 12:28 PM
When the liberties of one are unjustly infringed, the libiteries of ALL are infringed. While this may look like a 'good thing' to some conservatives and Republicans, it will not be a 'good thing' when the shoe is on the other foot and its a Liberal or Democatic Admin in office doing the same thing.

Jonesy9
February 9, 2004, 12:46 PM
Sindawe- unless you're a terrorist or hold opinions contrary to those in power you have nothing to worry about.

idd
February 9, 2004, 12:51 PM
jonesy said:
unless you're a terrorist or hold opinions contrary to those in power you have nothing to worry about.

I'm sure that Fidel Castro would agree with your sentiments 100%.

:barf:

Mark Tyson
February 9, 2004, 12:59 PM
This is terrible. What, do they think the Catholic Peace Ministry is a threat to national security?

cordex
February 9, 2004, 01:10 PM
idd,
Jonesy9 is being sarcastic.

This does appear to be a very disturbing intimidation tactic, but I'm kind of curious as to why the protesters were being arrested.

I disagree with the war too - albeit, for different and less noble reasons than the kids in question here.

Jonesy9
February 9, 2004, 01:18 PM
yes, just being sarcastic. hopefully another court will not uphold the subpeonas.

WT
February 9, 2004, 02:05 PM
I miss the good old days when the Army Military Police would infiltrate college campuses. One of my buddies got drafted and the Army sent him right back to school as an undercover agent, paying for his masters degree.

dustind
February 9, 2004, 02:43 PM
Is there any privacy left in this country? What is next? Taping conversations with lawyers, or using medical records against someone.

fix
February 9, 2004, 02:48 PM
A Grinnell College librarian was charged with misdemeanor assault on a peace officer; she has pleaded not guilty, saying she simply went limp and resisted arrest.

While this matter definitely deserves some scrutiny, it appears that there was more going on here than meets the eye. Why was she being arrested?

Sindawe
February 9, 2004, 02:53 PM
Jonesy9: I own guns and think the central .gov should stay w/in the bounds of the Constituion, so that makes me a 'potentional domestic terrorist', as it does many here.

idd
February 9, 2004, 04:15 PM
jonesy said:
yes, just being sarcastic

<whew> OK, for a moment I had wondered....

Some on the barking foaming neocon Right - such as David Horowitz (http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=6679) - are calling for the reactivation of sedition laws.

HunterGatherer
February 9, 2004, 05:51 PM
Nothing wrong with dragging every one of them into court, provided that the suspicions against each and every one of them is properly vetted. The court should overturn any demand for records for which no criminal suspicion can be reasonably substantiated. Any that can are in fact "fair game".

Nothing wrong with sedition laws either. You want your revolution without having to pay the price. Why am I not surprised? Feh!

Some organizations stand only for the purposes of creating chaos and death. The Mafia and the K.K.K. spring to mind. I don't think that they, or PinkoRats-R-Us should be immune from investigation, prosecution, or conviction if they are in fact guilty.

Sorry it's not 1969... well, not really. ;)

Waitone
February 9, 2004, 10:17 PM
That nonsense went on all the time during the mid to late 60's.

Nothing new except we get to blame Dubya. Johnson took the blame last time around. And there was a lot more of it going on than one incident.

History is such an inconvenient discipline for conspiracy advocates.

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