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ACLU Media Advisory: Press Conference and Town Hall

November 10, 2010

PRESS CONFERENCE: Groups Targeted in State Anti-Terrorism Bulletins To Call On Governor-Elect Tom Corbett To Issue Executive Order Prohibiting State Police From Spying On Activists

Groups Also To Announce Formation Of The First Amendment Network

For Immediate Release

November 8, 2010

Contact: Sara Mullen, ACLU of Pennsylvania, 215-592-1513 x122, smullen@aclupa.org

PHILADELPHIA – Over a dozen groups mentioned in the anti-terrorism bulletins created by the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR) and circulated by the state Office of Homeland Security will hold a press conference and media event on Wednesday, November 10, 2010, at 11:30 a.m., to call on the governor-elect, Tom Corbett, to issue an executive order once he takes office that would prohibit the state Office of Homeland Security and state police from gathering information about people’s political or religious views and associations except as part of a criminal investigation based on reasonable suspicion of actual criminal conduct.

The groups will also be announcing the formation of the First Amendment Network, a coalition of groups who were targeted and others who support the celebrate dissent as a core American value. Participating organizations include the ACLU of Pennsylvania, American Friends Service Committee, Brandywine Peace Community, Council on American-Islamic Relations of Pennsylvania (CAIR-PA), Philadelphia International Action Center, Protecting Our Waters, and The Shalom Center.

The event will include strong visuals, including individuals dressed as spies, a large banner listing all the names of the groups listed in the bulletins, and various signs and posters with the message “Don’t Spy on Me”.

Also on November 10 there will be a town hall, The War on Dissent, at the Friends Center, 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, at 6:30 p.m. Featured speakers include Mike German, a former FBI agent now working for the national ACLU; Mary Catherine Roper, ACLU of Pennsylvania staff attorney; Paul Hetznecker, civil rights and criminal defense attorney; and Jess Sundin, a target of the recent FBI raids in the Midwest.

More information, including a copy of the full list of the groups and individuals mentioned in the bulletins and the results of the ACLU of Pennsylvania’s Right to Know request, can be found here: www.aclupa.org/tracked

What: Press conference to ask Governor-elect Tom Corbett to issue an executive order protecting the First Amendment rights of activistsWho: Speakers will include:

  • Virginia Cody,* a retired Air Force officer and anti-fracking activist who alerted the media to the existence of the anti-terrorism bulletins
  • Jess Sundin, a target of the recent FBI raids in the Midwest
  • Paul Hetznecker, civil rights and criminal defense attorney
  • Bob Smith, Brandywine Peace Community*
  • Iris Marie Bloom, Protecting Our Waters
  • Moein Khawaja, Council on American-Islamic Relations of Pennsylvania (CAIR-PA)*
  • Ramona Africa, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal*
  • Cheri Honkala, Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign*
  • Peter Pedimonti, New Sanctuary Movement*
  • Representative from American Friends Service Committee*

* indicates group appeared in bulletins

When: Wednesday, November 10, 11:30 a.m.

Where: City Hall (west side), 15th & Market, Philadelphia

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