Murphy: ‘The FBI raids and subpoenas . . . [are] best understood as backlash aimed at silencing our successful movement’

on 7 Comments

The following is a statement given by Maureen Murphy at a press conference on Thursday, December 23 about the government’s ongoing intimidation of anti-war and solidarity activism in the Midwest. Murphy is one of several activists with the Palestine Solidarity Group who have been subpoenaed, and one of several individuals across the city of Chicago and the Twin Cities who are being targeted for Palestine solidarity activism. For more information, and to get involved, see

On Tuesday morning I experienced what more than twenty other activists across the US have experienced in the past few months — a knock on the door from the FBI. When I answered, one of the two agents outside my building identified himself and said he wanted to speak with me. When I declined, he informed me that I was being subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury on January 25.

I am among 22 other anti-war, labor and solidarity activists who have been subpoenaed and are facing a grand jury since the FBI raided several prominent organizers’ homes on September 24.

I’m proud of the movement we have built here in Chicago and I believe that the FBI raids and subpoenas and the ever-expanding grand jury witch hunt is best understood as backlash aimed at silencing our successful movement.

And if this grand jury fishing expedition is indeed aimed at intimidating our movement, what we have seen so far is that it has had the opposite effect. I’m extremely grateful for the outpouring of support that I and the other targeted activists have received. And as someone who has been leading the support work around the raids and subpoenas here in Chicago, I have seen first-hand that this is not about 23 individuals. There is a mass movement that understands that it is the rights of us ALL that are at stake here, and we have seen a broad condemnation of this attack on our right to peacefully advocate for a more just and less deadly US foreign policy.

I have no intention to participate in the government’s witch hunt. It is very clear that no crime has been committed and that the government’s motivation in issuing these subpoenas is to have us name the names of other activists not only here in the United States, but also in places like Palestine and Colombia, where many of us have traveled to learn about the human rights situations in those places. We can only assume that the US government shares intelligence with the governments of Israel and Colombia, whose repressive military rule the US bankrolls at the US taxpayer’s expense. And it is essentially a prison sentence or worse for human rights activists in Palestine and Colombia to be singled out and identified in this way. And I have no intention in playing any role in that.

I’m encouraged by the outpouring of solidarity from all corners of the Palestine solidarity movement and other social justice communities. I urge everyone to join in the pushback against this attack on our movement and our basic civil liberties.

7 Responses

  1. Jim Haygood
    December 26, 2010, 8:50 am

    I guess you’ll be asserting your Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in refusing to testify.

    The Supreme Court ruled in Kastigar v. United States that the prosecutor can compel testimony by conferring immunity from prosecution based on it. At that point, continued refusal would result in indefinite detention for contempt of court.

    I hope it doesn’t come to that. But you’re dealing with the Obama regime’s thugs, and have to expect hardball, kneecapping, thuglike behavior. Best of luck to you and your fellow activists.

    • chet
      December 26, 2010, 12:44 pm

      It would appear that this witch-hunt is being carried out with Obama’s acquiescence, if not his express approval.

      What a disappointment this man has become.

      • Potsherd2
        December 26, 2010, 12:54 pm

        Acquiescence would be a good name for the guy.

        Or maybe Doormat.

  2. Richard Witty
    December 26, 2010, 9:27 am

    Do you know what case the subpoenas are related to?

    • annie
      December 26, 2010, 10:02 am

      why do you assume there is a case the subpoenas are related to? it could be a fishing expedition.

      • Richard Witty
        December 26, 2010, 2:50 pm

        The grand jury evaluates whether there is merit to evidence presented towards a specific indictment.

        It only convenes relative to specific cases.

        She can respond.

  3. annie
    December 26, 2010, 10:05 am

    I believe that the FBI raids and subpoenas and the ever-expanding grand jury witch hunt is best understood as backlash aimed at silencing our successful movement.

    we’re growing and becoming stronger. what country is this afraid of freedom now, not the america i was raised to honor and respect. we’re the real americans.

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