Careful where you congregate

Amendment 1, Bill of Rights:
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.
Apparently, the above is no longer valid:

DES MOINES, Iowa — 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 anti-war activists.
In addition to the subpoena of Drake University, subpoenas were served this past 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 legal activist organization that sponsored the forum.

And more on this:

Yesterday, February 3, Detective Jeff Warford of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office-FBI-Joint Terrorism Task Force came to Catholic Peace Ministry’s office here in Des Moines with a subpoena for me to testify before a Federal Grand Jury next Tuesday, February 10. �Mr. Warford also served papers on Elton Davis at the Catholic Worker House and Patti McKee, who was coordinator of Iowa Peace Network until last month. The Grand Jury process is shrouded in secrecy. We do not know who or what the object of this investigation may be, beyond “possible violations of federal criminal law in the Southern District of Iowa.”
The proceeding will be behind closed doors. We may not have an attorney present. We have the right to plead the Fifth Amendment, refusing the answer questions that might incriminate us. �The government, then, can offer us immunity from prosecution, in which case we will obliged to answer under threat of contempt of court and could be imprisoned for the length of the Grand Jury session, 18 months, should we continue to refuse to answer. This immunity would be limited to our own testimony and anything any of us say could be used against the others.
Whatever is going on, this is definitely an escalation on the part of the government’s war on dissent and clamp down on civil liberties. �The fact that anything that we three and the peacemaking communities we represent could possibly attract the notice of a “Terrorism Task Force” is reprehensible. Please spread the word, express concerns you have with Federal and Polk County authorities. Keep us in mind and prayer.
Brian Terrell
Executive Director
Catholic Peace Ministry

Posted in Politics

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