Bob's Links and Rants

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Blog roll. Site feed.

Monday, February 09, 2004

It's back
The Committee on Un-American Activities, that is. In a return to the bad old days of McCarthyism and Cointelpro, protesters are being hauled before a grand jury:

DES MOINES, Iowa - In what may be the first subpoena of its kind in decades, a federal judge has ordered a university to turn over records about a gathering of anti-war activists. In addition to the subpoena of Drake University, subpoenas were served this past week on four of the activists who attended a Nov. 15 forum at the school, ordering them to appear before a grand jury Tuesday, the protesters said. AP

How bad is that, you ask?

The proceeding will be behind closed doors. We may not have an attorney present. We have the right to plead the Fifth Amendment, refusing the answer questions that might incriminate us. The government, then, can offer us immunity from prosecution, in which case we will obliged to answer under threat of contempt of court and could be imprisoned for the length of the Grand Jury session, 18 months, should we continue to refuse to answer. This immunity would be limited to our own testimony and anything any of us say could be used against the others. --from Brian Terrell, Executive Director, Catholic Peace Ministry, one of the activists who was subpoened (via Tom Tomorrow).

I wonder what Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn has to say about all this. I remember reading his "Gulag Archipelago" about the Soviet Union in Stalin's time: The 3 am arrests, the interrogations, the turning of neighbor against neighbor, family member against family member. It's how police states do things.