Tag Archives: non-violent resistance

Chicago activists protest latest round of FBI subpoenas – CNN iReport

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A  group of about 100 activists braved frigid temperatures to protest the latest round of FBI subpoenas in front of the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago Monday night.
The FBI issues summons to appear before a federal grand jury to three college students Friday. They are scheduled to appear on Jan. 25, said their attorney Jim Fennerty of the National Lawyers Guild. The women are being targeted because they traveled to the Palestinian occupied territory of the West Bank, he added.
The new subpoenas bring to 17 the number of activists throughout the Midwest that have been targeted by the FBI for their Palestinian and Colombian solidarity work. On Sept. 24, the FBI raided several homes in Minnesota, Chicago and Michigan and issued to subpoenas to 14 people.
To date, all 14 have refused to testify, causing Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, to withdraw the summons. However, he has since reissued subpoenas to three Minnesota women, who are facing “indeterminate imprisonment” if they refuse to testify again, said Maureen Murphy of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression.
The national committee was formed in response to the Sept. 24 FBI raids.
Grand juries are used to determine whether to charge a person with a crime. They differ from juries in criminal trials in that they are not screened for bias, according to the website Grand Jury Resistance Project. In addition, grand juries are conducted in secret without a judge and defense lawyers are not allowed into the room with their clients. However, they may confer with their clients outside the courtroom.
Many people claim that grand juries are misused to silence political opposition.
“Because of their broad subpoena powers and secretive nature, grand juries have been used by the government to gather information on political movements and to disrupt those movements by causing fear and mistrust,” the Grand Jury Resistance Project website states.
That’s a stance the National Lawyers Guild takes. According to its website, the Guild denounces the recent FBI actions.
“The Guild denounces the attacks on free speech, freedom of association, and the right to dissent that these actions represent,” the website states. “The raids and summonses reflect escalating hostility toward individuals and groups working in solidarity with the Palestinian and Colombian people and are blatantly political attacks on peaceful activists.”
The NLG has established a hotline for activists contacted by the FBI and has issued a Know Your Rights brochure and other information.
Murphy was upbeat about the event. The “push back” against the government has show results. Rallies and demonstrations have taken place in at least 60 cities nationwide, she said.
For more information on this issue:
Committee to Stop FBI Repression,
http://www.stopfbi.net
National Lawyers Guild,
http://www.nlgchicago.org
Grand Jury Resistance Project,
http://www.grandjuryresistance.org
For action items:
American Muslims for Palestine,
http://www.ampalestine.org.
Full Disclosure: I am the director of media and communications for the American Muslims for Palestine, which endorsed Monday’s rally.

Published first on CNN iReport http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-526337

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AMP joins coalition in condemning proposed suspension of Muslim student group

(CHICAGO 07/28/2010) – The American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) has joined a coalition of civil rights and professional bar associations in condemning the proposed suspension of the Muslim Student Union at the University of California, Irvine.

University officials have recommended the suspension after 10 students raised objections and disrupted a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren on Feb. 8, 2010. The students left the hall peacefully and of their own accord.

The MSU rejects UCI’s factual determinations of its involvement with the protest, and is currently appealing the proposed ban; nonetheless, AMP is urging its supports to contact UCI Chancellor Michael Drake and Vice Chancellor Manual Gomez and demand the institution abandon all efforts to suspend the MSU.

It is the position of the coalition that the suspension violates the students’ fundamental First Amendment Right to Association.

To read the coalition’s letter to UCI’s chancellor and vice chancellor, click here.

TAKE ACTION

Call or email Chancellor Michael Drake and Vice Chancellor to demand the university rescind the suspension recommendation.

TALKING POINTS

  • The MSU has been in existence for more than 20 years and organizes hundreds of interfaith and diverse programs every year.
  • Singling out the only organization on campus dedicated to the issues and concerns of Muslim students not only devalues the Muslim community as a whole, but also implies political and religious discrimination on the part of UCI administrators.
  • Banning the MSU will marginalize this vulnerable community and will brand it as perpetual outsiders
  • The recommended Ban Is unparalleled In Its severity and constitutes selective enforcement because other student groups, such as the College Republicans and Students for Peace and Justice, have not only protested and disrupted speeches, but have prevented those speakers from finishing their remarks. Yet no students were disciplined nor were their groups sanctioned in any way.
  • The ban sets a dangerous precedent that threatens other student groups.

CONTACTS

Michael Drake, Chancellor, University of California, Irvine
E-mail: chancellor@uci.edu
Phone: (949) 824-5111
Fax: (949) 824-2087

Manuel N. Gómez, Vice-Chancellor, University of California, Irvine
Email: mngomez@uci.edu
Phone: (949) 824-4804
Fax: (949) 824-2763

The American Muslims for Palestine is a national, grassroots organization, whose mission is to educate the American public about issues pertaining to Palestine and its rich, cultural heritage. For more information, contact Kristin Szremski, director of media and communications, at 708.598.4267, ext. 22 or at media@ampalestine.org . To learn more, go to http://www.ampalestine.org.

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As non-violent resistance grows, heroes are being made

Haaretz’ Bradley Burston writes a passionate column honoring the brave men and women, children and elders, who, against all odds and in the face of continued Israeli violence, stand shoulder to shoulder armed with nothing more than the proud Palestinian flag.

God bless the Palestinian who, armed with nothing more than courage, plants a flag.

From planting the flags in the no-man’s buffer zones in Gaza to the unarmed demonstrators taking to the streets every week in the West Bank to protest the inhumanity of the Apartheid Wall and to the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement initiated in Palestine, non-violent resistance is growing. And it’s becoming stronger, mighty in its silence.

God bless this new armed struggle. In acts of great bravery, there is great hope. In acts of non-violent resistance, there is unlimited might.

In June, on behalf of American Muslims for Palestine, I will be participating in the Allied Media Conference, in a session to teach youth how to use alternative media to bring the Palestinian narrative to the masses.  Introducing Americans to Palestinians, putting a human face on the most generous of peoples, is but one avenue to fight Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine. Because once Americans know the true score I know they will no  longer permit their tax dollars to be used to oppress and kill an entire nation  of people. Not even the powerful Israeli lobby in this country will be able to withstand the grassroots groundswell that is beginning for foment.

At the Allied Media Conference in Detroit, I will be presenting alongside someone from the Ann Arbor Palestinian Film Festival, God-willing. The media conference will be taking place right before the U.S. Social Forum, which will attract nearly 20,000 social activists from all walks of life and all causes. Both the media conference and the social forum have strong Palestinian tracks this year. In addition, AMP will be hosting representatives from Students for Justice in Palestine from campuses all across the country in attempts to help them create a national organization. There is strength in unification.

And we’re just a small corner of the world. Similar events and efforts are taking place around the globe. There is an energy and vitality to the coming together of diverse groups  representing Muslims, Jews, Christians, Unitarians, Anarchists, gays and lesbians, and many others concerned with social justice. Anti-Apartheid Palestine is the new South Africa.

The rallying cry started in Palestine with the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement and the Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, to the Palestinian  Students Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, to the West Bank protesters against the Wall and the Gazans risking their lives to plant flags in the face of Israeli violence.

And that brings me back to Bradley Burston’s column in Haaretz. Such impassioned support should not go unnoticed or unheralded. He most certainly will receive harsh criticism for his words. I laud him for making the grand gesture to support Palestinian non-violent resistance. We, outside of Palestine, must do our part to support and strengthen the efforts of our oppressed and besieged brothers and sisters.

God bless the villager, the schoolchild, the mother, the hero, armed with nothing more than a flag. Stand fast. No rocks. You will change every soldier you face. You will change history. You will be the end of this occupation. You will give all of us, life.

The movement is growing. The clock is ticking. Plant a flag in your part of the world and call for an end to the occupation.

~ Kristin Szremski 05/09/2010

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