Friday, March 31st, 9:30 am, Tucson FBI Office, 1 S. Church Ave, Tucson, Arizona.
Free-speech advocates and war protesters all across the United States will turn themselves in to the FBI this Friday, March 31st Through this action, participants will ease the workload of federal spies, freeing them up to engage in legitimate law-enforcement activities that will keep our country safer. Participants will also save taxpayer money, thereby demonstrating the patriotism of war opponents.
Through satire and humor, Food Not Bombs volunteers are calling attention to the serious issue of domestic spying by the Pentagon, NSA and FBI. In particular, the group is highlighting the recently revealed FBI has included Food Not Bombs on its “Terrorist Watch List” The FBI has been notified of this action and will have a duty agent on hand. The local office of the FBI indicated that Mr. McHenry is in fact under surveillance. Mr. McHenry co-founded Food Not Bombs which is an all-volunteer movement dedicated to non-violence that shares vegetarian meals to the hungry in hundreds of cities all over the world. (www.foodnotbombs.net) As the movements co-founder he felt it was important to turn himself in along with the many other non-violent terrorists under investigation by the U.S. government.
The purpose of the "turn yourself in" action is to counter the chilling effect caused by government surveillance and to maintain a safe space for dissent. By embracing the title of "dissenter," protesters will defuse the Bush administration's campaign to discredit its foreign policy critics and will show that opposition to the war will not be silenced. Protesters will also highlight the hypocrisy of the Bush Administration's policy of fighting for freedom abroad while squelching it at home - both through FBI spying on law-abiding peace groups and NSA eavesdropping on American citizens without obtaining warrants.
"The government's message has been 'trust us - we're only spying on terrorists and if you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear,'" stated Michigan Peaceworks' program coordinator Joseph Kuilema. "But obviously, since they're also spying on law-abiding peace activists, that message is not true. The Bush Administration has betrayed our trust."
Last week a law student in Austin, Texas reported that the FBI has placed Food Not Bombs on the “Terrorist Watch List.” The ACLU has discovered a number of FBI memos stating that Food Not Bombs is under investigation by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in California, Colorado, Missouri and a number of other states. Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry lives in Tucson, Arizona and recent Pentagon documents state that a protest against torture that he helped plan in November 2004 is considered an “ongoing credible terrorist threat.” Two Food Not Bombs volunteers in Arizona were arrested on terrorism charges this past December. One volunteer, Bill Rodgers, was found dead in his jail cell in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Shades of COINTELPRO?
The Food Not Bombs case is the latest in a series of revelations of government surveillance of peaceful social change organizations, such as the American Friends Service Committee in Denver, Colorado; Patriots for Peace in Melbourne, Florida; and Merton Center. It raises fears among free-speech advocates that the Bush Administration may be initiating a modern-day version of COINTELPRO (short for Counterintelligence Program) - the secret FBI operation in the 1960s and 1970s that gathered information on and attempted to destroy the anti-Vietnam War movement, the civil rights movement, and its leaders (most notably Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.).
FBI Keeps Watch on Activists
Antiwar, other groups are monitored to curb violence, not because of ideology, agency says.
Food Not Bombs on Terrorist Watch List in Texas
Is the Pentagon spying on Americans?
By Lisa Myers, Douglas Pasternak, Rich Gardella and the NBC Investigative Unit
Dec. 14, 2005
A secret Pentagon database indicates the U.S. military is collecting information on American peace activists and monitoring Iraq war protests.
For other Turn Yourself In actions visit: http://www.commondreams.org/news2006/0328-04.htm