investigations of activists

colist at colist at
Thu Feb 12 12:10:20 CST 2004

[ed:  thanks to Betty, Jeri, and Jill for the reassuring updates]

From: "Betty G. Robinson" <bgrobinson at>

I noticed the post re anti-war activists from Herbert Rubin (the link in it 
had expired) so I checked further because I thought it was probably the 
Drake case -- the same reporter he mentions in his post wrote the piece 
for the AP which I received.  So here is the latest info on that. There 
was undoubtedly some goodorganizing which accompanied the victory. 
Betty Robinson   

Feds Drop Subpoenas Against Drake & Peace Activists  

In Iowa, under public pressure federal prosecutors have reversed 
themselves and dropped a controversial subpoena that would have 
forced Drake Universi ty to hand over detailed information about who 
organized and attended an an ti-war forum at the campus last 
November. The government has also dropped a subpoena for four anti- 
war activists to appear before a grand jury for que stioning. Civil 
liberties attorneys said they had not seen such subpoenas s ince the 
1950s during the McCarthy Era.   

Source:  DemocracyNow!   In DC Listen to 89.3 FM  8am  &  6pm  


From: Jeri Schneider <jeris at>

According to a 2/11 article on, the subpoenas were 
dropped, due to pressure from "civil liberties advocates, politicians and
peace activists."

"U.S. Officials Drop Activist Subpoenas: Judge lifts Drake gag order in
probe of anti-war protest," by Jeff Eckhoff and Mark Siebert




From: "Jill L. Kress" <jlkress at>

Here is an update to the activist investigations, courtesy of Voices in
the Wilderness. ~Jill

Date:  Thu, 12 Feb 2004 03:02:13 -0800 
From:  VitW Email List <vitwlist at> 
To:  jlkress at 
Reply-to:  vitwlist at 
Subject:  VitW Federal Officials Withdraw Subpoenas 

Dear Friends of Voices, 

"We're dancing in the streets here in Des Moines," explained Des 
Moines Catholic Worker Frank Cordaro yesterday, after federal officials
withdrew the subpoenas imposed last week against four Iowan peace
activists and Drake University.  

This is indeed a moment to celebrate, after an intense week of 
networking and media work for the Des Moines peace activists. Just 
over a week ago, a Polk County sheriff's deputy--identifying himself as 
a member of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force--delivered several 
subpoenas to Iowans who participated in a Nov. 15 conference held at 
Drake University called "Stop the Occupation! Bring the Guard Home!" 
The conference was followed on the next day by a rally and acts of civil 
disobedience at the gates of Camp Dodge, home of the Iowa National 
Guard. Additionally, Drake University was issued a subpoena and was 
ordered to turn over all the records of the campus chapter of the 
National Lawyers Guild, who hosted the Nov. 15 conference. On 
Tuesday, after hundreds of people came out in public to support the 
protesters' rights, gaining negative attention for the grand jury, the 
federal government backpeddled and withdrew the subpoenas.   

At a time when the US government is spending so much time and 
energy to intimidate dissenters, let's catch strength from these 
courageous Iowans, who drew on their network of friends and contacts 
to counteract this attempt by federal officials to quash dissent. Brian 
Terrell, director of Catholic Peace Ministry in Des Moines and one of 
those subpoenaed, explained it this way: "This sort of thing [the 
subpoena] is designed to destroy peace groups by splitting them up 
and breeding mistrust. Responding to this has meant a lot of hard work 
by many good people, but we've learned that the best thing to do is to 
meet these sorts of accusations straight-on."      

The Iowa activists have gained many new allies during this struggle, 
such as the Des Moines Register editorial staff, who demanded today 
(Feb. 11) that the federal prosecutors explain their suspicious actions:  
"The U.S. attorney's office said the investigation is not necessarily over. 
That's fine, because, we look forward to learning what it was all about. 
The public has a right to be assured that the federal government is not 
unleashing its vast new Patriot Act powers on common anti-war 

Unfortunately, we have already seen from the police brutality at the 
FTAA protests in Miami that the federal government will use money 
from the 'homeland security' budget to violently attack peaceful 
dissenters; what's to stop them from using the secretive grand jury to 
wage the same sort of battle? Only the power of community in the face 
of divisive tactics! Let us extend our energies to advocate for others 
who are engaged in this struggle for social justice and peace, whether 
they be people whose ideas are marginalized in the media, people who 
experience, firsthand, institutional tactics of brutality and silencing, or 
Iowa Catholic Workers and peace activists. We're glad to learn from the 
friends in Iowa whose swift media outreach and effective contact with 
elected representatives worked so successfully. Their voices, raised in 
protest of the Occupation in Iraq, drew national attention when the 
federal government tried to 'gag' them.    

Incidentally, Kathy Kelly will speak in Des Moines on Thursday, Feb. 
12th, at 7pm, at the Drake University Catholic Student Center. See the 
vitw calendar for details. Also, for the 
full story on the lifting of the subpoenas against the Iowa peace 
activists and Drake University, see the Feb. 11th edition of the Des 
Moines Register, online at   

In Peace, 

Voices in the Wilderness Chicago 
Scott Blackburn, John Farrell, Laurie Hasbrook, Angela Garcia, Kathy
Kelly, Danny Muller 

> From: "Herbert Rubin" <hrubin at>
> This story looks scary.  I took it off of my university's
> activist list
> Herb
> Saturday, February 7, 2004 · Last updated 9:33 a.m. PT
> University and four peace activists subpoenaed over anti-war
> demonstration
> 20&s lug=Activist%20Investigation
> [ed:  please note the web address wraps to two lines.]
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