Two dear comrades, Carrie Feldman and Scott DeMuth, are subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury in Davenport, Iowa this coming Tuesday, November 17. The prosecutor has not disclosed the pretext for the subpoena, though it appears that it may be connected to the FBI investigation of an Animal Liberation Front action that occurred at the University of Iowa in 2004—when Carrie and Scott were barely in high school.
Grand juries exist to coerce civilians into providing information about themselves and others to law enforcement and intelligence agencies. They operate in secret; no judges or defense attorneys are present, and neither Constitutional rights nor conventional evidence-gathering protocol apply. Grand juries are frequently used to harass activists and dissidents; for example, a grand jury forced independent journalist Josh Wolf to serve 226 days in a federal prison simply for refusing to turn over a videotape he had shot at a demonstration.
Carrie was already called to appear before this grand jury on October 15, and refused to answer questions, reading a statement declaring that she had “no intention of testifying before this grand jury” on account of her personal convictions. It is possible that if she and Scott refuse to answer questions this Tuesday, they will be thrown in jail for up to a year.
Both Carrie and Scott have contributed immensely to their communities and to the struggle for a freer world. Among other projects, Carrie has worked with EWOK!, a Twin Cities group supporting environmentalist defendants and prisoners, and the Coldsnap Legal Collective, which has been instrumental in supporting arrestees from the 2008 RNC protests. In addition to his own involvement with EWOK! and the Anarchist Black Cross, Scott participates in Oyate Nipi Kte, a group dedicated to the liberation of the Dakota people and the rediscovery of their traditional ways of life, and the editorial board of the Dakota community journal Anpao Duta. If these two are kidnapped by the state, it will be a tremendous loss.
Supporters are calling for a phone-in day to pressure the prosecutor to leave them alone. This Monday, call US Attorney Cliff Cronk and demand that he dismiss the subpoenas. Let them know this harassment is unacceptable and will be met by popular outrage and opposition at every turn. Feel free to take up as much of their time as you can—they clearly feel entitled to waste ours.
Monday, November 16, 9 am to 4 pm Central Standard Time
US Attorney’s Office
Cliff Cronk: (563)449-5432
General Purpose Poster against cooperating with police investigations [PDF, 576k]