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Students subpoena U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald

By Chapin Gray

Attempt to deliver giant subpoena to US Attorney Fitzgerald

Chicago, IL – “Stop the subpoenas, stop the raids! We are here, we aren’t afraid!” On a chilly morning, Jan. 14, over 50 people gathered at the Federal Building in downtown Chicago to deliver a mock subpoena to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald is in charge of the wave of FBI raids, harassment and subpoenas that began last September across the country. Since then, 23 people have been summoned to appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago and all have refused to participate in what is being called a political witch hunt.

Several protesters took the giant-sized subpoena inside the Federal Building to deliver personally to Fitzgerald. The subpoena reads, “You have been summoned to appear in front of the People’s Court. You have been subpoenaed to testify on your attempts to silence and criminalize the anti-war and international solidarity movements. The raids and subpoenas you ordered on activists across the Midwest are an attack on our freedom to speak out and organize when the actions and policies of the government are wrong.”

The protesters were stopped immediately by U.S. marshals when they entered the building and told they could not go past the lobby without Fitzgerald’s permission. They then claimed Fitzgerald was not in his office, but finally agreed to put the subpoena on Fitzgerald’s desk at the beginning of the next week.

Students from Students for Justice in Palestine, the Wright College and University of Illinois-Chicago chapters of Students for a Democratic Society and Columbia Art Activists organized the action to put pressure on Fitzgerald to call off the grand jury proceedings and stop the intimidation, harassment, and repression. Speakers included Sam Dreessen from Students for Justice in Palestine, Kait McIntyre of Students for a Democratic Society and Stan Smith, whose daughter Sarah Smith is one of those being subpoenaed.

“The FBI said on Dec. 3 my daughter was being subpoenaed,” said Smith. “This, the FBI claims, is a grand jury investigation into some type of support for terrorism. Now it’s Jan. 14 and they still haven’t delivered it. They scheduled it last Tuesday, but called to cancel because a few inches of snow. They have not rescheduled. I think their attitude shows the real reason for this investigation is not to keep us safe from terrorism, but to harass and intimidate those opposed to U.S. wars. “

Organizers say they chose to hold the demonstration close to the 82nd anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, to draw a connection between FBI repression of the COINTELPRO era and today. “We chose this day to commemorate the birthday of Dr. King, another activist the FBI deemed dangerous,” said McIntyre. “The FBI tried to silence Dr. King for trying to make the world a more just place.”

The Chicago Committee against Political Repression (CAPR) was formed to organize to defend the targets of FBI repression. On Jan. 25, CAPR will hold a demonstration, one of dozens of actions happening across the country, to mark the day the nine most recent subpoenaed are set to appear before the grand jury. For more information, visit

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