Friday, January 28, 2011

FBI targeting peace activists again

PressTV - FBI targeting peace activists again:

Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:23AM
Ross Frasier, Press TV, Los Angeles

"This was the admission that human rights campaigners had been looking for. That the British government's anti-terror legislation post-9/11 has been deeply flawed. In a statement to parliament the Home Secretary tacitly acknowledged that the anti-terror laws had been over-the-top and had targeted Muslims.

During the last decade Britain has implemented a series of anti-terror laws to combat against potential al-Qaida inspired attacks on the UK mainland. These laws were intensified after the July 2005 attacks on the London transport system which killed 52 people.

During that time around 1,800 mainly Muslim men have been arrested on terrorism suspicions, although the overwhelming majority have been released without charge.

But scores have been subjected to imprisonment and house arrest without charge or trial, prompting complaints that the laws disproportionately target Muslims.

But following a lengthy review of the anti-terror laws the home secretary said that:

Pre charge detention would be limited to 14 days, down from 28 days
Stop and search powers would be curtailed because they were an intrusion on a suspect's human rights House arrest - or control orders - would be replaced by a less harsh And certain Muslim groups would not be banned as long as they didn't promote terrorism.

Following the announcement, Muslim groups said that the government had just watered down some controversial aspects of the anti-terror laws, while maintaining the overall discriminatory framework.

A coalition of community groups in Los Angeles say law enforcement in America is targeting innocent citizens who speak out against the federal government.

The group says they are protesting what they call years of oppression and fear tactics used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Carlos Montes is a peace activist who says he is being targeted by the FBI through subpoenas and search warrants.

But Montes says he has committed no crime.

Charla Schlueter is with the Committee to Stop FBI Repression.

Schlueter says the FBI's history of targeting peace-activists goes back several decades to the time of Martin Luther King, Jr.

She says this past December, the FBI delivered grand jury subpoenas to nine activists in Chicago.

Six of these went to members of the Arab American community while the remaining three went to solidarity activists and individuals who have travelled to Palestine.

Schlueter says this is in addition to the 14 peace activists who were issued subpoenas this past September.

Schlueter says the only way to respond to repression is to speak out in protests like these.

She says more are planned throughout the country to bring increased attention to the matter.

The Los Angeles office of the FBI was not available for an on-camera interview.

However, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller tells Press TV that the FBI supports the group's right to protest.

Eimiller says while she cannot comment on specific cases, she says each person will have their day in court and be given a chance to defend themselves.

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