The following press release was issued by the United States Palestinian Community Network on 16 December 2010:
The United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) strongly condemns and denounces the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s political repression of 19 anti-war, Palestine solidarity and Palestinian activists. The USPCN calls for the immediate suspension of the federal government’s grand jury prosecution of these activists, and an end to the FBI’s harassment of our communities.
Since 24 September, the FBI has raided seven Chicago and Minneapolis homes of activists and has served a total of 19 federal subpoenas across the Midwest. The targeted citizens are outspoken community organizers and students critical of US policy in Colombia, Palestine and the Middle East.
The grand jury and FBI are seeking evidence that connects the 19 activists and their “potential co-conspirators” to US-designated “terrorist organizations.” Five of the nineteen activists being targeted are Palestinian-Americans whose only crime is working tirelessly to inform fellow citizens of the realities of Israeli occupation. None of the 19 has been charged with a crime, and all deny providing material support, including money, to any foreign organization. These activists are shining examples of courage and fortitude, ordinary citizens doing the extraordinary work of building knowledge and support for justice and a common humanity
Federal harassment of our communities and associational life has grown precipitously during the last decade, as Arabs, Muslims and their allies continue to be persecuted for their lawful and necessary civic engagement. This suppression of civil rights and free speech seeks to criminalize and quell civic activism undertaken in support of Palestinian and other oppressed peoples’ struggles against US-funded occupation and war. This harassment must stop.
The United States Palestinian Community Network stands in full support of our brothers and sisters unjustly targeted by the federal government.
We assert our determination and commitment to challenge our government’s policies, both here and abroad, and will continue to defend the rights of Palestinians, our allies, and all those struggling against oppression. The USPCN upholds the constitutional right of Americans to dissent without fear of persecution, and the rights of peace and justice organizations to organize, educate, and assemble, free and unbridled.
We call upon all USPCN local chapters, members and fellow citizens, to join existing local and national efforts organized by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression (http://www.stopfbi.net).
Do not be intimidated, we struggle together. Continue to speak your conscience, continue to educate, and continue to organize. Justice will prevail.