Hello, Senator McCarthy

Feds win right to war protesters' records

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 records about who attended the forum, the subpoena orders the university to divulge all records relating to the local chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, a New York-based legal activist organization that sponsored the forum. [...]

"The law is clear that the use of the grand jury to investigate protected political activities or to intimidate protesters exceeds its authority," guild President Michael Ayers said in a statement. Representatives of the Lawyer's Guild and the American Civil Liberties Union said they had not heard of such a subpoena being served on any U.S. university in decades. [...]

The forum, titled "Stop the Occupation! Bring the Iowa Guard Home!" came the day before 12 protesters were arrested at an anti-war rally at Iowa National Guard headquarters in Johnston. Organizers say the forum included nonviolence training for people planning to demonstrate.

Several officials of Drake, a private university with about 5,000 students, refused to comment Friday [...] A source with knowledge of the investigation said a judge had issued a gag order forbidding school officials from discussing the subpoena.

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