Letter to the Editor: Mueller unethical choice as speaker

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I was shocked and appalled to learn of Robert S. Mueller’s visit to Northwestern on Thursday. As FBI director, Mueller has presided over a number of post-9/11 civil liberties abuses, including a vast domestic spying program that unjustly targeted antiwar, animal rights, and environmentalist activists. In addition, a Justice Department report released on Sept. 20 found that Mueller repeated false statements to Congress in 2006 while trying to justify these activities. Given that finding, as well as last week’s harassment of antiwar activists in Chicago and Minneapolis by the FBI, the decision to allow Mueller to speak was particularly crass.

Now the process seems poised to repeat itself. Michael Oren, Israeli ambassador to the United States, is scheduled to speak at Northwestern this Monday. Last June, Oren defended the interception of a Gaza-bound humanitarian aid flotilla by Israeli forces – and the subsequent killing of nine passengers on board – as “perfectly legal, perfectly humane” in an interview with Fox News. This fiction was utterly contradicted by the Sept. 27 report of a United Nations fact-finding mission, which concluded that “Israeli forces carried out extralegal, arbitrary and summary executions.” Among those executed was 19-year-old U.S. peace activist Furkan Dogan, who was shot in the face “at point blank range” as he lay on the deck, bleeding from four other gunshot wounds.

How sad that the university feels it appropriate to reward the persecutors of activists and cheerleaders of human rights abuses with on-campus speaking engagements. Such actions cannot be reconciled with the community principles and values Northwestern claims to hold so dear.

– Matthew Kovac

Medill freshman