Investigation of Anti-war Activists Remains Active

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February 15, 2012

The investigation of the Midwest peace activists who homes and offices were raided by the FBI in September 2010 remains active, reports Fight Back. According to an attorney for one of the activists, Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas confirmed the “investigation is continuing” in a Jan. 24 phone call.  Many documents relating to the case are under seal and will remain unavailable to the activists’ attorneys "pending completion of the investigation." Since 2010, 23 anti-war and international solidarity activists have been subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury in Chicago. All have refused to testify.

 “That Barry Jonas is now involved in our case is an ominous development” said Jess Sundin, one of the anti-war activists whose home was raided by the FBI.
Before joining U.S. District Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in Chicago, the lead official in this investigation, Jonas had served as one of the prosecutors in the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial. In 2004 HLF and its leaders were charged the providing material support to Hamas. The indictment charged that the group funded local zakat committees (charities) in Gaza that were controlled by Hamas. According to defense attorneys, the prosecution’s case was unfounded since it was based largely on the testimony of a secret witness and hearsay evidence. The trial court's instructions to the jury did not require them to find that HLF and its leaders knew about Hamas’ control of these committees, which are not on any public list of sanctioned entities.
“None of us has been jailed for our refusal to testify at the grand jury, and we believe that is thanks to the outpouring of support we have received from around the country,” Sundin added.
In early 2011, several members of Congress wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder about the raids and subpoenas. In one letter, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) said the “investigations into individuals and organizations engaged in peaceful anti-war demonstrations” are continuing a trend of intrusive government surveillance. Other letters were written by Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Rep. David Price (D-NC).