Double Standards Apply to Peace Activists

BY MARGARET SARFEHJOOYE

January 05, 2011

If you speak out against U.S.-sponsored human rights violations, and you are not rich or powerful, you might get a visit from the FBI. The recent “witch-hunt” against peace activists is expanding, and there are now 24 grand jury subpoenas served to peace activists based mostly in Minneapolis and Chicago. Although there have been no charges, the activists were informed that this investigation is about providing material support for foreign terrorist groups. Material support? I know the activists in Minneapolis, and they are union members, a retired nurse, a high-school teacher, a kitchen worker, a woman on disability–none who have the material means to support a “terrorist group.” The Anti-War Committee, whose office was raided by FBI agents, has a yearly garage sale to meet its meager expenses.

Predicting no political gain for assisting a little-known group of “leftists” who criticize U.S. foreign policy, our senators in Washington have avoided  protecting the activists’ rights, using the excuse that “it is unethical to interfere with an ongoing investigation.”  Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old soldier from Oklahoma, is being investigated by the FBI for providing information to WikiLeaks.  Senator Amy Klobuchar stated on CBS:  “A lot of people believe he could get a prison term for the rest of his life and I think that would be appropriate.”  Wait a minute—isn’t this an ongoing investigation?  Do double standards apply when a senator’s career might be enhanced by spouting the government line?  What about International Law?  The Nuremberg Laws, established after the horrors of WWII, declare that soldiers have a legal obligation to resist war crimes.  Is it more criminal to expose U.S.-sponsored war crimes, as Bradley Manning and the FBI-harassed peace activists have done?

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