Dear All,


The message below is an important one for several reasons.  What takes place in the United States with impunity is likely also to occur in Israel.


And apart from relating what is happening and requesting you to act, the second part of the message contains (thanks to Ed Kent who forwarded) a live case of what can happen and following that instructions of your rights if by chance you find yourself on the suspect side of the coin.


This is not the first time in American history that fascistic acts and principles have entered the American lives.  Apart from the slave trade eras, there was also the 1920s when the Red scare and fear of immigrants deported 100s if not 1000s, killed Sacco and Vanzetti who were accused of being anarchists and of murdering 2 people (but the trial and verdict were very controversial), during WWII interring Japanese were but nor Germans, and we should not forget that prevalent in the South were the KKK and discriminatory laws through the 1960s, and the 1950s saw the McCarthy era with loyalty oaths—to mention a few.  These are scary periods where many innocents get hurt.  Please do your part to oppose these present acts by whatever nonviolent means you can, including writing letters as requested by the IJAN.






International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network Friday, October 08, 2010    United States



Statements Call for International Solidarity

Stop raids against US anti-war activists and international solidarity activists



Dear Fellow International Solidarity Activist,


We are calling on our international allies to take action in support of long-time peace and human rights activists who have come under attack for their work against U.S. occupation and military intervention abroad.


On September 24th, 2010, the FBI subjected about a dozen anti-war activists and activists working in solidarity with struggles in Palestine and Colombia to searches and raids of their homes in Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan.  Activists in California, Wisconsin and North Carolina were also harassed.


The activists in Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan were served with Grand Jury subpoenas.  They are refusing to testify, a brave choice which could land them in jail. The illegitimate Grand Jury process, which began on October 5, must be stopped. The raids and Grand Jury process constitute an FBI abuse of power clearly designed to create a climate of fear among those who dare to fight for peace and justice.  We must be vigilant in our defense of these activists and their right to continue their important international solidarity work without harassment.


This is an escalation of the daily targeting of and culture wars against Arab and Muslim communities and immigrants in the United States. It is a continuation of the long-standing repression of dissent in the United States from McCarthyism to the brutal targeting of peoples’ movements by COINTELPRO, and, of most recently, environmental justice activists.  It is also part of an increasing wave of right-wing hate that has been legislated through state and federal policies that turn police into immigrant bounty hunters.  


We are calling on our counterparts – anti-war, human rights, Palestine and other international solidarity activists, anti-racist activists and grassroots organizers – to act in solidarity with those being targeted by political repression. We ask you to stand with us now to publicly defend the rights of all activists and communities in the United States who express dissent against U.S. policy and who work for peace, human rights and global justice within and beyond US borders.




Tell them that the US government has to be held accountable for this repression and that you join with the US activists in condemning US war and occupation, including its support of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and US intervention in Colombia.


Below is a draft fax or email and is also useful for talking points if you call the US embassy.


Here is a link to international US embassy contact information:


IF YOU ARE IN THE UNITED STATES, Call the U.S. Attorney General

Eric Holder at 202-353-1555 or write an email to: .


Please email your letters on 10/11 October and ‘bcc’ or send a separate copy

to [email protected].


Here is a link to important statements and reports with greater details on

the raids and calls to action:


In the months ahead we will be contacting you again to ask that you demonstrate your

solidarity as these activists face grand jury trials. 


Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. 


In solidarity and joint struggle,   



Center for Constitutional Rights


Grassroots Global Justice Alliance


International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network


Malcolm X Grassroots Movement


United States Palestinian Community Network



Sample email or fax:  


As international anti-war and international solidarity activists and organizers, we denounce the raids of the US government on US-based Palestinian solidarity activists, anti-war activists, and other international solidarity workers that took place in several U.S. cities on Friday, September 24th, 2010. We denounce the daily raids on immigrants and the repression of Arabs and Muslims who stand up for their families and communities.


We are outraged by the denial of human and civil rights of social justice activists who speak for justice and peace for our world. We pledge our solidarity with efforts to fight for the humanity of all people and against the role of the US government in domestic political repression, and international war, occupation and intervention.


We demand that the US Government:


**Hold the FBI and all intelligence and police agencies accountable to stopping the repression against anti-war and international solidarity activists


**Immediately return all possessions taken from the activists’ homes: computers, cell phones, papers, documents, etc.


**End the illegitimate grand jury proceedings designed to intimidate and criminalize the targeted activists


The activists being targeted are involved with many groups, including:


*         The Twin Cities Anti-War Committee


*         The Palestine Solidarity Group


*         The Colombia Action Network


*         Students for a Democratic Society


*         Freedom Road Socialist Organization



[Forwarded by Ed Kent] 

A good example of a recent story of FBI intimidation.
(Wired) — A California student got a visit from the U.S. Federal Bureau
of Investigation this week after he found a secret GPS tracking device
on his car, and a friend posted photos of it online.
The post prompted wide speculation about whether the device was real,
whether the young Arab-American was being targeted in a terrorism
investigation and what the authorities would do.

It took just 48 hours to find out: The device was real, the student was
being secretly tracked and the FBI wanted their expensive device back,
the student told in an interview Wednesday.

The answer came when half-a-dozen FBI agents and police officers
appeared at Yasir Afifi’s apartment complex in Santa Clara, California,
on Tuesday demanding he return the device.

Afifi, a 20-year-old U.S.-born citizen, cooperated willingly and said
he’d done nothing to merit attention from authorities. Comments the
agents made during their visit suggested he’d been under FBI
surveillance for three to six months.
An FBI spokesman wouldn’t acknowledge that the device belonged to the
agency or that agents appeared at Afifi’s house.

“I can’t really tell you much about it, because it’s still an ongoing
investigation,” said spokesman Pete Lee, who works in the agency’s San
Francisco headquarters.

Afifi, the son of an Islamic-American community leader who died a year
ago in Egypt, is one of only a few people known to have found a
government-tracking device on their vehicle.

His discovery comes in the wake of a recent ruling by the 9th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals saying it’s legal for law enforcement to
secretly place a tracking device on a suspect’s car without getting a
warrant, even if the car is parked in a private driveway.

Brian Alseth from the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington state
contacted Afifi after seeing pictures of the tracking device posted
online and told him the ACLU had been waiting for a case like this to
challenge the ruling.
“This is the kind of thing we like to throw lawyers at,” Afifi said
Alseth told him.

“It seems very frightening that the FBI have placed a
surveillance-tracking device on the car of a 20-year-old American
citizen who has done nothing more than being half-Egyptian,” Alseth told

Afifi, a business marketing student at Mission College in Santa Clara,
discovered the device last Sunday when he took his car to a local garage
for an oil change. When a mechanic at Ali’s Auto Care raised his Ford
Lincoln LS on hydraulic lifts, Afifi saw a wire sticking out near the
right rear wheel and exhaust.

Garage owner Mazher Khan confirmed for that he also saw it. A
closer inspection showed it connected to a battery pack and transmitter,
which were attached to the car with a magnet. Khan asked Afifi if he
wanted the device removed and when Afifi said yes, Khan pulled it easily
from the car’s chassis.
“I wouldn’t have noticed it if there wasn’t a wire sticking out,” Afifi

Later that day, a friend of Afifi’s named Khaled posted pictures of the
device at Reddit asking if anyone knew what it was and if it mean the
FBI “is after us.” (Reddit is owned by CondeNast Digital, which also

“My plan was to just put the device on another car or in a lake,” Khaled
wrote, “but when you come home to 2 stoned off their asses people who
are hearing things in the device and convinced its a bomb you just gotta
be sure.”

A reader quickly identified it as an Orion Guardian ST820 tracking
device made by an electronics company called Cobham, which sells the
device only to law enforcement.

No one was available at Cobham to answer’s questions, but a
former FBI agent who looked at the pictures confirmed it was a tracking

The former agent, who asked not to be named, said the device was an
older model of tracking equipment that had long ago been replaced by
devices that don’t require batteries. Batteries die and need to be
replaced if surveillance is ongoing so newer devices are placed in the
engine compartment and hardwired to the car’s battery so they don’t run
out of juice. He was surprised this one was so easily found.
“It has to be able to be removed but also stay in place and not be
seen,” he said. “There’s always the possibility that the car will end up
at a body shop or auto mechanic, so it has to be hidden well. It’s very
rare when the guys find them.”
He said he was certain that agents who installed it would have obtained
a 30-day warrant for its use.

Afifi considered selling the device on Craigslist before the FBI showed
up. He was in his apartment Tuesday afternoon when a roommate told him
“two sneaky-looking people” were near his car.

Afifi, already heading out for an appointment, encountered a man and
woman looking his vehicle outside. The man asked if Afifi knew his
registration tag was expired. When Afifi asked if it bothered him, the
man just smiled.

Afifi got into his car and headed for the parking lot exit when two SUVs
pulled up with flashing lights carrying four police officers in
bullet-proof vests.

The agent who initially spoke with Afifi identified himself then as
Vincent and told Afifi, “We’re here to recover the device you found on
your vehicle. It’s federal property. It’s an expensive piece, and we
need it right now.”

Afifi asked, “Are you the guys that put it there?” and the agent
replied, “Yeah, I put it there.” He told Afifi, “We’re going to make
this much more difficult for you if you don’t cooperate.”
Afifi retrieved the device from his apartment and handed it over, at
which point the agents asked a series of questions — did he know anyone
who traveled to Yemen or was affiliated with overseas training? One of
the agents produced a printout of a blog post that Afifi’s friend Khaled
allegedly wrote a couple of months ago. It had “something to do with a
mall or a bomb,” Afifi said. He hadn’t seen it before and doesn’t know
the details of what it said. He found it hard to believe Khaled meant
anything threatening by the post.

“He’s a smart kid and is not affiliated with anything extreme and never
says anything stupid like that,” Afifi said. “I’ve known that guy my
whole life. “

The agents told Afifi they had other agents outside Khaled’s house.
“If you want us to call them off and not talk to him we can do that,”
Afifi said they told him. “That was weird. … I didn’t really believe
anything they were saying.”

When he later asked Khaled about the post, his friend recalled “writing
something stupid,” but said he wasn’t involved in any wrongdoing. Khaled
declined to discuss the issue with

The female agent, who handed Afifi a card, identified herself as
Jennifer Kanaan and said she was Lebanese. She spoke some Arabic to
Afifi and through the course of her comments indicated she knew what
restaurants he and his girlfriend frequented. She also congratulated him
on his new job. Afifi got laid off from his job a couple of days ago,
but on the same day was hired as an international sales manager of
laptops and computers for Cal Micro in San Jose.

The agents also knew he was planning a short business trip to Dubai in a
few weeks. Afifi said he often travels for business and has two teenage
brothers in Egypt whom he supports financially. They live with an aunt.
His U.S.-born mother, who divorced his father five years ago, lives in

Afifi’s father, Aladdin Afifi, was a U.S. citizen and former president
of the Muslim Community Association here, before his family moved to
Egypt in 2003. Yasir Afifi returned to the U.S. alone in 2008, while his
father and brothers stayed in Egypt, to further his education he said.
He knows he’s on a federal watchlist and is regularly taken aside at
airports for secondary screening.

Six months ago, a former roommate of his was visited by FBI agents who
said they wanted to speak with Afifi. Afifi contacted one agent and was
told the agency received an anonymous tip from someone saying he might
be a threat to national security. Afifi told the agent he was willing to
answer questions if his lawyer approved. But after Afifi’s lawyer
contacted the agency, he never heard from the feds again until he found
their tracking device.

“I don’t think they were surprised that I found it,” he told Threat
Level. “I’m sure they knew when I found it. … One of the first
questions they asked me was if I was at a mechanics shop last Sunday. I
said yes, that’s where I found this stupid device under my car.”
Afifi’s attorney, who works for the civil liberties-focused Council on
American Islamic Relations, said this kind of tracking is more egregious
than the kind her office usually sees.

“The idea that it escalates to this level is unusual,” said Zahra
Billoo. “We take about one new case each week relating to FBI or law
enforcement visits [to clients]. Generally they come to the individual’s
house or workplace, and there are issues that arise from that.”
However, she said that after learning about Afifi’s experience, other
lawyers in her organization told her they knew of two people in Ohio who
also recently discovered tracking devices on their vehicles.
Afifi’s encounter with the FBI ended with the agents telling him not to

“We have all the information we needed,” they told him. “You don’t need
to call your lawyer. Don’t worry, you’re boring. ”
They shook his hand and left.
On Oct 9, 2010, at 6:09 PM, [email protected] wrote:
   Subject: When An FBI Agent Knocks  
When An Agent Knocks
   If an Agent Knocks – Federal Investigators and Your Rights
   People opposing U.S. policies in Central America, giving
   sanctuary to refugees from Guatemala and El Salvador, struggling
   for Black liberation, and against nuclear weapons, are today
   more than ever likely to receive visits from FBI agents or other
   federal investigators. Increasingly, agents are also visiting
   the families, friends, and employers of these activists.
   This pamphlet is designed to answer the most frequent questions
   asked by people and groups experiencing government scrutiny, and
   to help them develop practical responses.
   What is political intelligence?
   Political intelligence is information collected by the
   government about individuals and groups. Files secured under the
   Freedom of Information Act disclose that government officials
   have long been interested in all forms of data. Information
   gathered by government agents ranges from the most personal data
   about sexual liaisons and preferences to estimates of the
   strength of groups opposing U.S. policies. Over the years,
   groups and individuals have developed various ways of limiting
   the collection of information and preventing such intelligence
   gathering from harming their work.
   Do I have to talk to the FBI?
   No. The FBI does not have the authority to make anyone answer
   questions (other than name and address see errata), to permit a
   search without a warrant, or to otherwise cooperate with an
   investigation. Agents are usually lawyers, and they are always
   trained as investigators; they have learned the power of
   persuasion, the ability to make a person feel scared, guilty, or
   impolite for refusing their requests for information. So
   remember, they have no legal authority to force people to do
   anything — unless they have obtained an arrest or search
   warrant. Even when agents do have warrants, you still don’t have
   to answer their questions.
   Under what laws do the agents operate?
   In 1976, FBI guidelines regulating the investigation of
   political activities were issued by Attorney General Edward H.
   Levi. Criticized by liberals and conservatives alike, the
   guidelines were issued in the wake of a Congressional
   committee’s report of highly questionable activities by the FBI,
   monitoring the activities of domestic political groups seeking
   to effect change. The report exposed the FBI’s counter-
   intelligence program (COINTELPRO) under which the agency
   infiltrated groups, compiled dossiers on, and directly
   interfered with individuals engaged in activities protected by
   the First Amendment rights to freedom of expression and association.
   The FBI COINTELPRO program was initiated in 1956. Its purpose,
   as described later by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, was “to
   expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize
   activities” of those individuals and organizations whose ideas
   or goals he opposed. Tactics included: falsely labelling
   individuals as informants; infiltrating groups with persons
   instructed to disrupt the group; sending anonymous or forged
   letters designed to promote strife between groups; initiating
   politically motivated IRS investigations; carrying out
   burglaries of offices and unlawful wiretaps; and disseminating
   to other government agencies and to the media unlawfully
   obtained derogatory information on individuals and groups.
   In 1983, Attorney General William French Smith issued
   superseding guidelines that authorized “domestic security/
   terrorism” investigations against political organizations
   whenever the FBI had a reasonable belief that these groups might
   violate a law. The new guidelines permitted the same intrusive
   techniques the FBI used against organized crime.
   The Smith guidelines were justified by the Attorney General’s
   observation that “our citizens are no less threatened by groups
   which engage in criminal violence for political… purposes that
   by those which operate lawlessly for financial gain.” He
   concluded: “we must ensure that criminal intelligence resources
   that have been brought to bear so effectively in organized crime
   and racketeering investigations are effectively employed in
   domestic security/ terrorism cases.” The guidelines provide,
   therefore, no safeguards to protect against infringements of
   First Amendment rights.
   Worst, they ignore the history of COINTELPRO abuses, and abolish
   the distinction between regular criminal investigations and
   investigations of groups and individuals seeking political
   change. They fail to limit the investigative techniques used to
   obtain data on political groups, so that now the FBI may use any
   technique, including electronic surveillance and informers,
   against political organizations.
   Today, the FBI may begin a full investigation whenever there is
   a reasonable indication that “two or more persons are engaged in
   an enterprise for the purpose of furthering political or social
   goals wholly or in part through activities that involve force or
   violence and a violation of the criminal laws of the United
   States.” The FBI has interpreted “force or violence” to include
   the destruction of property as a symbolic act, and the mere
   advocacy of such property destruction would trigger an
   investigation. Even without any reasonable indication, under a
   separate guideline on “Civil Disorders and Demonstrations
   Involving a Federal Interest,” the FBI may investigate an
   organization that plans only legal and peaceful demonstrations.
   Another set of rules governing=2 0federal intelligence gathering
   is Executive Order 12333, in force since 1981. It authorizes the
   FBI and CIA to infiltrate, manipulate and destroy U.S.political
   organizations, as well as to use electronic surveillance — under
   the pretext of an international intelligence investigation.
   What federal agencies are likely to be interested in a citizen’s
   political activities and affiliations?

The FBI is still the major national intelligence-gathering
   agency. There are also many other federal, state, local and
   private investigative agencies. At least 26 federal agencies may
   gather intelligence, including the Immigration & Naturalization
   Service, Internal Revenue Service, and the Treasury Department’s
   Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Local police agencies
   sometimes contain “special services” units and narcotics or
   other “strike forces” in which federal, state, and local
   agencies cooperate. The Central Intelligence Agency and National
   Security Agency are partic ularly active when a political
   organization has or is suspected to have international contacts.
   Military security agencies and increasingly significant
   “private” research institutes and security agencies also gather

A recent Freedom of Information Act request on behalf of the
   Livermore Action Group, an anti-nuclear organization, revealed
   that the Navy, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, and the Marine Corps
   all sent agents to the Group’s public meetings and kept
   newspaper reports of such meetings. Most chilling was the
   revelation that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) —
   the federal agency charged with implementing martial law in the
   event of a nuclear war — was also watching the Livermore group.
   Federal and state, local and private agencies, all tend to share
   information in a variety of ways.
   How does the FBI learn about citizens and organizations?  

Political intelligence is gathered from public sources, such as
   newspapers and leaflets. It is also collected by informers who
   may be government employees or people recruited by them.
   Political intelligence is also collected through FBI visits to
   your home or office. We are here most concerned with this aspect
   of intelligence gathering.
   Agents may be sent to interview people after FBI officials
   decide there is a “reasonable indication” that an organization
   or person meets the guidelines for a “domestic security”
   investigation. Such interviews are a primary source of
   information, for most people are not aware of their right not to
   talk to federal agents.  

Most people are also unaware of the limits to the power of FBI
   and other investigative agents. Many people visited by agents
   are also afraid of being rude or uncooperative. Age nts may be
   friendly and courteous, as if they are attempting to protect you
   or your organization, or express admiration for your
   organization and its goals. Occasionally, the FBI may persuade a
   disaffected member of an organization to give them information
   about other members, including their personal lives, character
   and vulnerabilities.
   A major job of FBI agents is to convince people to give up their
   rights to silence and privacy. For example, after a Quaker
   pacifist spoke in Anchorage, Alaska, at a memorial service for
   El Salvador’s Archbishop Romero, FBI agents visited a local
   priest and interrogated him about the speaker. The agents asked
   about the speaker’s organizational affiliations and expressed
   fears about “terrorist connections.” The agents informed the
   priest that they would do a “computer check” on the speaker and
   his wife, and asked the priest if the two might do violence to
   the U.S. President, scheduled to visit the area. These
   interrogations were repeated in the community by agents who
   later admitted there was no basis for their questions about
   “terrorist connections” and the danger to the President.
   What if I suspect surveillance?
   Prudence is the best course, no matter who you suspect, or what
   the basis of your suspicion. When possible, confront the
   suspected person in public, with at least one other person
   present. If the suspect declines to answer, he or she at least
   now knows that you are aware of the surveillance. Recently,
   religious supporters of a nation-wide call to resist possible
   U.S. intervention in Central America noticed unfamiliar people
   lurking around their offices at 6 a.m., but failed to ask what
   they wanted and who they were. If you suspect surveillance, you
   should not hesitate to ask the suspected agents names and
   inquire about their business.
   The events giving rise to suspicions of surveillance vary
   widely, but a general principle remains constant: confront the
   suspected agents politely and in public (never alone) and
   inquire of their business. If the answer does not dispel your
   suspicion, share it with others who may be affected and discuss
   a collective response. Do not let fears generated by
   “conspicuous” surveillance create unspoken tensions that
   undermine your work and organization. Creating fear is often the
   purpose of obvious surveillance. When in doubt, call a trusted
   lawyer familiar with political surveillance. Please do not call
   the number that was printed here as the Movement Support Network
   Hotline, because it is no longer active, and is now the private
   residence of an unrelated person.
   How should I respond to threatening letters or calls?
   If your home or office is broken into, or threats have been made
   against you, your organization, or someone you work with, share
   this information with everyone affected. Take immediate
   steps20to increase personal and office security. You should
   discuss with your organization’s officials and with a lawyer
   whether and how to report such incidents to the police. If you
   decide to make a report, do not do so without the presence of counsel.
   What rights do I have?
   1.The Right to Work for Change. The First Amendment to the U.S.
   Constitution protects the rights of groups and individuals who
   advocate, petition, and assemble to accomplish changes in laws,
   government practices, and even the form of government political
   intelligence gathering is not supposed to interfere with these rights.
   2.The Right to Remain Silent. The Fifth Amendment of the
   Constitution provides that every person has the right to remain
   silent in the face of questions (other than name and address)
   posed by any police officer or government agent.
   Since 1970, however, federal prosecutors may request judges to
   order a subpoenaed witness to testify, after a grant of
   immunity, at a grand jury hearing or at a criminal trial. This
   grant of immunity means that your Fifth Amendment right to
   refuse to testify is taken away. What is given to you is only
   the promise not to use your testimony against you in a
   subsequent criminal prosecution. But you can still be charged
   with a crime. Failure to testify after a grant of immunity is
   discussed on page 12 below.
   3.The Right to be Free from “Unreasonable Searches and
   Seizures.” Without a warrant, no government agent is allowed to
   search your home or office (or any other place that is yours and
   private) You may refuse to let FBI agents come into your house
   or into your workplace. unless they have a search warrant.
   Politeness aside, the wisest policy is never to let agents
   inside. They are trained investigators and will make it
   difficult for you to refuse to talk. Once inside your home or
   office, just by looking around, they can easily gather
   information about your lifestyle, organization, and reading habits.
   The right to be free from “unreasonable searches and seizures”
   is based on the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. This
   Amendment is supposed to protect against government access to
   your mail and other written communications, telephone and other
   conversations. Unfortunately, it is difficult to detect
   government interference with writings and conversations. Modern
   technology makes it difficult to detect electronic surveillance
   on a telephone line, other listening devices, or cameras that
   record whatever occurs in a room. Also common are physical
   surveillance (such as agents following in car or on foot), mail
   covers, and informers carrying tape recorders.
   What should I do if police, FBI, or other agents appear with an
   arrest or search warrant?
   Agents who have an arrest or search warrant are the only ones
   you are legally required to let i nto your home or office. You
   should ask to see the warrant before permitting access. And you
   should immediately ask to call a lawyer. For your own physical
   safety you should not resist, even if they do not show you the
   warrant, or if they refuse to let you call your lawyer. To the
   extent permitted by the agents conducting a search, you should
   observe the search carefully, following them and making mental
   or written notes of what the agents are doing. As soon as
   possible, write down what happened and discuss it with your lawyer.
   What should I do if agents come to question me?
   Even when agents come with a warrant, you are under no legal
   obligation to tell them anything other than your name and
   address. It is important, if agents try to question you, not to
   answer or make any statements, at least not until after you have
   consulted a lawyer.
   Announce your desire to consult a lawyer, and make every
   reasonable effort to contact one as quickly as possible. Your
   statement that you wish to speak to the FBI only in the presence
   of a lawyer, even if it accomplishes nothing else, should put an
   end to the agents’ questions. Department of Justice policy
   requires agents to cease questioning, or refrain from
   questioning, anyone who informs them that he or she is
   represented by a lawyer. To reiterate: upon first being
   contacted by any government investigator the safest thing to say
   is, “Excuse me, but I’d like to talk to my lawyer before I say
   anything to you.” Or, “I have nothing to say to you. I will talk
   to my lawyer and have her or him contact you.” If agents ask for
   your lawyer’s name, ask for their business card, and say you
   will have your lawyer contact them. Remember to get the name,
   agency, and telephone number of any investigator who visits you.
   If you do not have a lawyer, call the local office of the
   National Lawyers Guild.
   As soon as possible after your first contact with an
   investigator, write a short memo about the visit, including the
   date, time, location, people present, any names mentioned by the
   inves tigators, and the reason they gave for their
   investigation. Also include descriptions of the agents and their
   car, if any. This may be useful to your lawyer and to others who
   may be contacted by the same agents.

After discussing the situation with your lawyer, you may want to
   alert your co-workers, friends, neighbors, or political
   associates about the visit. The purpose is not to alarm them,
   but to insure that they understand their rights. It might be a
   good idea to do this at a meeting at which the history of
   investigative abuse is presented.
   If I don’t cooperate, doesn’t it look like I have something to hide?
   This is one of the most frequently asked questions. The answer
   involves the nature of political “intelligence” investigations
   and the job of the FBI. Agents will try to make you feel that it
   will “look bad” if you don’t cooperate with them. Many people
   not familiar with how the20FBI operates worry about being
   uncooperative. Though agents may say they are only interested in
   “terrorists” or protecting the President, they are intent on
   learning about the habits, opinions, and affiliations of people
   not suspected of wrongdoing. Such investigations, and the kind
   of controls they make possible, are completely incompatible with
   political freedom, and with the political and legal system
   envisaged by the Constitution.
   While honesty may be the best policy in dealing with other
   people, FBI agents and other investigators are employed to
   ferret out information you would not freely share with
   strangers. Trying to answer agents’ questions, or trying to
   “educate them” about your cause, can be very dangerous — as
   dangerous as trying to outsmart them, or trying to find out
   their real purpose. By talking to federal investigators you may,
   unwittingly, lay the basis for your own prosecution — for giving
   false or inconsistent information to the FBI. It is a federal
   crime to make a false statement to an FBI agent or other federal
   investigator. A violation could even be charged on the basis of
   two inconsistent statements spoken out of fear or forgetfulness.
   Are there any circumstances under which it is advisable to
   cooperate with an FBI investigation?
   Never without a lawyer. There are situations, however, in which
   an investigation appears to be legitimate, narrowly focused, and
   not designed to gather political intelligence. Such an
   investigation might occur if you have been the victim of a
   crime, or are a witness to civil rights violations being
   prosecuted by the federal government. Under those circumstances,
   you should work closely with a lawyer to see that your rights
   are protected while you provide only necessary information
   relevant to a specific incident. Lawyers may be able to avoid a
   witness’ appearance before a grand jury, or control the
   circumstances of the appearance so that no one’s rights are
   How can grand juries make people go to jail?
   After being granted immunity and ordered to testify by a judge,
   grand jury witnesses who persist in refusing to testify can be
   held in “civil contempt.” Such contempt is not a crime, but it
   results in the witness being jailed for up to 18 months, or the
   duration of the grand jury, whichever is less. The purpose of
   the incarceration is to coerce the recalcitrant witness to
   testify. In most political cases, testifying before a grand jury
   means giving up basic political principles, and so the intended
   coercion has no effect — witnesses continue to refuse to testify.
   Witnesses who, upon the request of a grand jury, refuse to
   provide “physical exemplars” (samples of handwriting, hair,
   appearance in a lineup, or documents) may also be jailed for
   civil contempt, without having been granted immunity.
   The charge of “criminal contempt” is also available to the
   government as a weapon against uncooperative grand jury
   witnesses. For “criminal contempt0 there is no maximum penalty —
   the sentence depends entirely on what the judge thinks is
   appropriate. Charges of criminal contempt are still rare. They
   have been used, however, against Puerto Rican independentistas,
   especially those who have already served periods of
   incarceration for civil contempt.
   Is there any way to prevent grand jury witnesses from going to jail?
   There is no sure-fire way to keep a grand jury witness from
   going to jail. Combined legal and community support often make a
   difference, however, in whether a witness goes to jail and, if
   so, for how long. Early awareness of people’s rights to refuse
   to talk to the FBI may, in fact, prevent you from receiving a
   grand jury subpoena. If the FBI is only interested in getting
   information from you, but not in jailing you, you may not
   receive a grand jury subpoena.
   What can lawyers do?
   A lawyer can help to ensure that government investigators only
   do what they are authorized to do. An attorney can see to it
   that you do not give up any of your rights. If you are
   subpoenaed to a grand jury your lawyer can challenge the
   subpoena in court, help to raise the political issues that
   underlie the investigation, and negotiate for time. Your lawyer
   can also explain to you the grand jury’s procedures and the
   legal consequences or your acts, so that you can rationally
   decide on your response.
   A law enforcement official can only obtain your name and address
   if he or she has a reasonable suspicion to believe that you have
   committed or are about to commit a crime (note #2). Thus,20if an
   FBI agent knocks at your door you do not have to identify
   yourself to him; you can simply say “I don’t want to talk to
   you,” or “You’ll have to speak to my lawyer,” and then close the
   door. An FBI agent, unlike a local police officer, does not have
   jurisdiction to investigate violations of state statute.
   First Edition published March 1985.
   Published by
   Center for Constitutional Rights
   853 Broadway, 14th Floor
   NY, NY 10003
   (212) 674-3303
   The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is a non-profit legal
   and educational corporation dedicated to advancing and
   protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States
   Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is
legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

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