Editor’s Note. Below is a statement by Sarah Smith, a young Chicago woman subpoenaed by the FBI to appear before a grand jury – apparently for the “crime” of going on a trip to Israel and Palestine. The statement was read out by her father, Stansfield Smith, to a press conference/protest on December 6. We thank him for permission to reprint Sarah’s statement here.
I Am Being Subpoenaed by the FBI
by Sarah Smith
On Friday morning, December 3rd, I received a phone call from an FBI agent. He asked if I had about 30 minutes to sit down and speak with him so he could ask me some questions. I asked about what and he said he “was not at liberty to discuss it.” I then asked if I needed a lawyer present and he said it was up to me but that I was not in any trouble and that they just had a few questions. I felt something suspicious about him telling me he wanted to ask me some questions, but he would not tell me what these questions were. So I said that I had to consult a lawyer and check my schedule and that I would get back to him. I reiterated that it would be easier for me to meet him if I knew why an FBI agent wanted to sit down with me. He then said that it had to deal with the trip I took this summer. He then emphasized, “I think you know which one I’m talking about.”
The trip I took last summer was to Israel and Palestine. I am Jewish and wanted to see first hand what life is like for Israelis and Palestinians. If I went on the standard tour to Israel, I would not be shown how Palestinians live. So I went on a tour that showed me both worlds, Israel, and the Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank. I went with 2 Palestinian-American friends. You would think Jews and Palestinians going together to visit Israel and Palestine is something the U.S. government would encourage. Instead, we are now being ordered by the FBI to go before a Grand Jury for going on that trip.
The US government says it supports peace between Israel and Palestine. It says it supports separate Israeli and Palestinian states. So why does the FBI investigate us because we went to see the Palestinian land? Top US government leaders meet with Palestinian leaders, so why does the FBI investigate us because we talked to average Palestinians on the street? I went there so I could make up my own mind and talk about what I saw. It seems to me our government wants to hide what Israel is doing to Palestinians.
I would like to thank the Committee Against Political Repression for the support they have given me and I encourage everyone to check out www.stopfbi.net to learn more and to sign the petition against this witch hunt.
You can help by donating to my legal defense by sending a tax-deductible check to NLG Foundation. In the memo write: FBI Raids. You can mail it to Sarah Smith at 2961 S. Bonaparte, Chicago, Il 60608.
Fitzgerald Expands Repression with 3 New Subpoenas in Chicago
Under the direction of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s office, the FBI is expanding their repression of anti-war and Palestine solidarity activists in Chicago. On Friday, December 3, 2010, the FBI targeted three young women who traveled together to Palestine last summer. After the FBI called to question a young Jewish-American woman, Sarah Smith, FBI agents knocked on the door of two young Palestinian-American sisters. One sister was already on the phone with lawyer Jim Fennerty and handed the phone to the FBI, causing the FBI to leave. The FBI agents soon returned with subpoenas to the Grand Jury targeting anti-war and solidarity activists, dated for January 25, 2011. The three are standing strong with the other 14 subpoenaed activists from Illinois, Minneapolis and Michigan. Over 100 people protested in Chicago on Monday against the expanding repression.
Help Keep 3 Minneapolis Women Out of Jail
Fitzgerald’s new wave of repression comes a week after the re-activation of subpoenas for three Palestine solidarity activist women in Minneapolis. Tracy Molm, Anh Pham and Sarah Martin are being asked to appear before the Grand Jury again, despite refusing to speak in October. In Minneapolis and other cities a week of actions demanded “Protest to keep Anh, Tracy, and Sarah, out of jail!” Lawyers for each of the three are meeting with Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Fox this week. However, on orders from Fitzgerald’s office, the FBI shenanigans continue with visits to anti-war activist’s homes.
So please stand with the 17 subpoenaed anti-war and solidarity activists and make a phone call to Fitzgerald at 312-353-5300.