Saturday, February 07, 2004

This is scary... 

DesMoinesRegister.com | News
Lawyers worked Friday to derail a federal grand jury investigation into an anti-war conference held three months ago at Drake University.

Federal officials have refused to say why they want information about the conference, the legal group that hosted it and four Des Moines-area peace activists involved.

But officials with the National Lawyers Guild, host of the Nov. 15 conference, said they intend to move Monday to block the subpoena, one of five delivered this week by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Four of the subpoenas went to Des Moines peace activists, who were told to appear Tuesday before a federal grand jury. One went to Drake University, asking for information about the anti-war conference and records of the National Lawyers Guild local chapter.

The U.S. attorney's office in Des Moines convinced a judge Thursday to issue an order under seal - described by peace-movement sources as a gag order - to prohibit Drake employees from talking about the document search.

The subpoena demanded records from campus security reflecting any observations of the Nov. 15 conference, including "any records of persons in charge or control of the meeting, and any records of attendees of the meeting." Drake University President David Maxwell declined to comment Friday on how the university would respond.
Michael Greenberger, director of the Center for Health and Homeland Security at the University of Maryland, tracks counter- terrorism efforts nationwide.

"Without knowing the details," Greenberger said, "these facts tend to evidence exactly the kinds of things that people are worried about with regard to the Patriot Act and other prosecutorial excesses. It seems like people are being challenged for their free-speech rights."
That's the Patriot Act in all its glory. How's that First Ammendment looking now?

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759